He went back where the old home place stood, surrounded by loblolly pines, watching, listening to the wind whistle through the trees.  He could smell the turning of ground and hear the voices of neighboring children at play. It was here where pain carved its initials on his heart.  The hopes and dreams of a happy family were shattered by private wars that went public.  A life of promise, then, was boarded up and bolted shut as the sign read, “Condemned.”

Sin condemns us all and leaves us alone and hopeless; left to die from the inside out.  The heart grows callous by the pain.  Anger and bitterness find a welcome mat at the door.  Hate and unforgiveness make a living room in the dark abandoned house. Opportunity brings all the forces of destruction together under one roof.  The days of our lives yield to busy efforts to cover the pain and avoid the same. We wear a necklace of entitlement and a watch that records the time suffered.

Yet, what shall we do? Living in the past imprisons our potential and a future of joy and peace.  Fulfilling relationships remain out of reach. There must be a key that will bring release. There must be a design that will take this old house and breathe new life into its ruin. Our questions are real but are the answers? If so, can those answers be known, embraced, and applied?   

The pines are still growing strong and tower above the place where little boys use to escape. Gazing up, the sun glistened through the needles and hope grows where it once was buried. As the long walk down the hall of evergreens ended, life has been transformed and the pain has become the closest friend.