Dust swirled in the air as I hurried into the women’s courtyard of the Temple hoping to catch a glimpse of the man I heard so much about. As I turned the corner I found him teaching to a crowd. I stood at a distance so I could hear without drawing attention to myself; the words were a slave to my soul. Is it possible for me?
Angry voices of men approaching flooded my ears–watching in horror I saw the woman sobbing as she was dragged through the dirt by the religious leaders. Without warning they tossed her to the ground as if she were a piece of garbage, landing at the feet of the teacher who quickly stood at the disruption.
He listened to their angry accusations as she cowered at his feet. I heard her cries as she attempted to cover herself. “This woman was caught in the act of adultery; the law says to stone her. What do you think?” asked the leader. Sinner! Whore! Stone her! Shouts of condemnation bounced across the crowd of onlookers in wait of response from the teacher.
My eyes turned back to the teacher to see how he would respond. Much to my amazement he looked at the woman full of compassion and love. Could it be? When he looked again at the crowd, anger and disappointment was exposed in His eyes. I watched in fascination as he crouched down. Was he writing in the dirt? Pure shock danced across the faces of the men standing closest to him. Staring at the ground, they rapidly turned white then red with anger. Silence was over powering as each person in the crowd watched him. He stood and looked each man in the eye and calmly said, “Go ahead; stone her. If you have never sinned.” The response as they took in his words and watched him stoop again to write in the dirt was a sight to behold. Understanding entered the place as they saw their sin written in the dirt for all to see. From oldest to the youngest they each dropped their rock and walked away.
The teacher looked down and held out his hand to help her up. Tears streamed down my face as he looked at her with affection. “Where are your accusers?” he asked with gentleness in his voice. “Did they condemn you?” With fear on her face, she dared looking around. Seeing no one except her and the teacher, she wiped away the tears. “No, Lord.” she answered. “Neither do I. Go. Sin no more.” said the Teacher.
Her face changed before my eyes, the joy radiating from within her soul replaced the fear, hurt and shame! As she walked away, my heart broke. It could have been me…it could have been me. I ventured to look at the Teacher. As he turned towards me we locked eyes. As much as I wanted I could not look away from the love in His expression. He spoke so softly it was almost silent, but His words were unmistakable, “Neither do I. Go. Sin no more.”
Have you wondered what she did after her encounter with Jesus? Did she go and sin no more? Or did she go back to her old life? Starting over is not easy. It requires us to navigate unchartered territory, the great unknown. If you remember, the children of Israel were faced with the same decision at the Red Sea–go back to what they knew, or cross over into the unknown. We tend to go back to the familiar yet God is calling us to trust Him with our future. He is already there.
At fifty-one, I had to make the same decision; stay in an abusive marriage, or take a leap. Trust God and run. I finally decided to trust God with my future. Easy? No. I was terrified. Looking back it seems silly to even question what choice was best. Seven years later, I can tell you. Start over!
“This is the first day of the rest of your life; this is the first day of the rest of your life. Cause even in the dark you can still see the light. It’s gonna be alright, it’s gonna be alright.” (Matt Maher, Hold Us Together.)
Karen DeArmond-Gardner: I found myself in my early 50′s shattered, divorced and without a job – moving to a new state to begin over again. There were times I thought the “start would stop me.” I had no clue what my purpose was and quite frankly thought I had messed up so bad that even God couldn’t put my life back together again. Within the last 6 years I started a new career, enjoyed being single, became a grandmother, reconnected with my family and at 57 I married the most amazing man ever. Because God never does anything small, He asks me to step out of my box and begin writing. Only God….if He did this for me, He will do it for you. Join us on the journey to discover Your Purpose Now.