As awkward, wannabe-punk teenagers, my best friend and I were massively into the Playstation 2 game Tony Hawks’ Underground. Although we played it most Friday nights, we kinda sucked. So instead of climbing through the levels and completing the game in one fell swoop, ‘we’ just skated around each town a little bit aimlessly. I knew fake New Jersey like the back of my hand, including the invisible walls beyond which thou shall not pass. If you tried to break out into the big wide world of uncoded virtual reality, there was the sound of a thwack, a message on the screen like ‘this is your brain on drugs’ and your character got dropped back into the heart of things, robbed of your running high score. Very 1984.
Sorry for that detour down memory lane. But I realised as today I move away from every pattern and every person I know, that I’ve been staring at the future as if it’s one of those invisible fences around the skate parks. As if, because I don’t know what to expect, the coding must have run out. As if, staring into an amorphous blur, I’m about to be cut loose, or repelled back to where I started with some mocking phrase on the screen like ‘do you even know God’s will for your life?!’
In reality, there is no uncharted territory for the One whose perspective is clearest and most constant. Nor are there boundaries to the love as He lavishes it. There is not a single day on which God’s grace does not unfold. That’s true whether you’re staring into the foulest or sweetest of weeks- in both, He loves us, through Christ, the same; in neither does He tempt us. And if I’ve got it into my noggin that my not knowing the future means my not being known in the future- and known by the Lord and relentless lover of all mankind- then maybe God is telling me to be brave so that He can prove me wrong. Because there’s only one person on earth who has sought God and come against a No Entry sign: Jesus on the cross. He accepted that utter rejection so that nothing- not death or demons or my bad decision-making- could pluck me out of God’s cradling hand.
Romans 8:38-9: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”