Jabcat, you remind me of an incident that I experienced several years ago that became a key role in mending relationships between my family members, namely, my sister and my Dad. She left home as soon as she turned 18 and never looked back. She's much like my Dad in the way that they both are very strongly opinionated in their beliefs. The problem was, their beliefs didn't entirely match up so much.
So, as a result, over the course of time, there was never any healing, only abused opportunities to reunite. By abused I mean, whenever there was a visit, instead of just being family, it would always turn into an attempt to bring the other into submission and end up in another big fight. This went on many years. Then one year, my sister was making plans to visit all of us for a couple weeks. but this time, something happened.
I had just had my first earth shattering experience with the Father and my wife and I were very much on fire with what God was doing in us and in our church. We lived in this house for two years. Along one side of our house was a sidewalk that went from the front porch to the back yard. At the gate of our chainlink fence, the sidewalk stopped. My wife had always wondered why they didn't just run the sidewalk on through the gate and to the back entrance of the house. She always wanted one because when it rained, with no sidewalk meant you had to walk in the mud or wet grass.
So that year I decided I was going to pour a little sidewalk of my own . . .never did anything of this nature before, but how hard could it be .. right? My first task was to dig out the sod. So I got a shovel and stabbed the ground with it . . .about two inches down, I hit a rock .. . "What a cooincidence!" I thought. So I took a couple steps over and did it again .. .and hit another rock again . .. I did this about 4 times and every time I would hit a rock. I was so perplexed at this. Our yard was not that rocky. So I changed directives just a bit.
Instead of digging down, I started scraping across. The rock I hit was a flat one . . .so I scraped the sod away and found it was fitted up against another. After an hour or so of scraping . .. to my amazement, I had uncovered quite a treasure. Someone had laid a hand-made, cobblestone sidewalk down that went from our back gate to our back entrance to the house. And then they outlined the edges with brick-work. It was beautiful and way more articulate than what I had planned for it.
We loved it and were in awe that we'd lived there for two years and didn't have a clue it was there. We so badly wanted something there, and had something there, but we didn't "know" it was there.
When my sister came, we had made reservations at our favorite camp ground for a camping trip. All of the family came out and it was around the campfire the the Lord spoke to me to share with them about the sidewalk because he was going to heal my family that night. So I took the shovel and the head of the garden hose .. .the only two tools needed to uncover the sidewalk.
The shovel represented His Word, the garden hose head represented the Spirit. Through the Word, our earth was broken, through the water of the spirit, the dirt was removed. God revealed to us that night that there was never a broken relationship. Just as there was always a walkway provided to get us from our back gate to our back entrance, there has always been a walk way between my sister and my Dad. The problem wasn't that it wasn't there, the problem was, we let things of our earth cover it up so it was no longer visible.
Just as our intent for that camping trip wasn't to heal our family, neither were my intentions of digging up the sod to expose the sidewalk. I was just going to make my own. We were just going camping . . but God put it in us to do something and our minds assumed it meant "this" when all the while, God's purpose was to do "that". That night at the camp site, for the first time in 20 years, my family broke down and embraced each other as all of the scars melted away. Since that day, my family has been the family we always desired to be when it came to being a whole family.
Truth is "always there". The cold heart of man may have covered it up for hundreds of years, initiating the dark ages, but Truth was there. It lied just beneath the surface of mankind's beliefs, just waiting for someone to stumble across it. And now, I believe all the sod is being removed and man is seeing for the first time, something that's been there for thousands of years.
Jesus didn't die to give man an option to go to heaven. Jesus gave us his resurrection so that in his resurrection, we could see His truth. When man knows the truth, truth will set him free. It's not about choosing heaven or hell, it's about seeing the truth and being set free in it.