Enoch Road: Redeeming and Retelling Your Story

August 2019

I spoke with our old pastor a few days ago. We both stumbled through the conversation, a mutual shock that we were discussing funeral arrangements for the most lively, life-giving man we’ve ever known. He said something that stuck with me. He said Dan reminds him of Enoch. How he just went straight to be with the Lord.

Today, we are heading to the base to grant OSI permission to investigate Dan’s phone. To see if they can figure out any more of what is unexplainable. To see if they can discover more about what happened to my love. But in the spiritual realm, we already know, don’t we?

We drive down highway 94 where sunflowers grow wild on the side of the highway. These flowers constantly remind me of Dan. They grow up out of concrete and medians. They scatter the roadside with hope of life and hope of resurrection because their seeds fell in impossible terrain, and yet, they bloom. They sway in the wind with the mountains behind them. They release a holy song that’s just a little too quiet for me to be able to make out the words.

Still, the drive is silent.

We pass the road that leads to his gravesite. I sit, stunned that we are actually doing this.

All these bright shining flowers have become a promise in my heart of the abundant harvest that is coming. I have to trust that this will all somehow be worth it. That pressing on to know the Lord will be worth it. In this hard pressing on every side, Jesus is planting deep seeds, even in the hardest, most cemented of hearts.

I remember the photo I took of these flowers on the day of his funeral as we drive down the same road again today, going 60mph in slow motion:

enoch 4.jpg

Driving on the way to the burial site the day of his funeral, I wrote these words to go with the photo:

“There’s no abundant harvest

without seed, broken and buried.”

 

Today, my vision grows heavy and salty once more. I blink away the tears and look up. The sign reads:

“Enoch Road.”

enoch 3.jpg
enoch 6.jpg

I realized this was the road my husband was taking to work every day. And as I wait in the visitor’s center for our escort, I begin to understand that we are about to enter the Enoch Gate.

I see these flowers, and I think of that one phrase that wrecked me last year, when I sat crying in Dr. Schrag’s office. “Intense cultivation leads to abundant harvest.” I thought the intense cultivation was drawing near the end. I had no idea it was just beginning.

I see this military base, and I think of the prayer Ms. Jane taught us to pray through deployment—"Lord, if you know I have to go through this fire, then squeeze every bit of good out of it as possible.”

I see Enoch Gate, and I can only be left with more questions and more wonderings. It only leaves me with more things that are unexplainable.

And yet, I know the Lord sees this beginning and this end. He knows that this story isn’t over yet. And as Elizabeth Elliot writes, “He never ends a story with ashes.”

After looking up the story of Enoch again, I remember studying it in Genesis with my dear friends in BSF. My paraphrased version of Genesis 5 goes like this:

God created male and female in his likeness, and he blessed them.

Adam had sons and daughters, fathered them, lived so many years, and then he died.

His son had sons and daughters, fathered them, lived so many years, and then, he died.

His son had sons and daughters, fathered them, lived so many years, and then, he died.

His son had sons and daughters, fathered them, lived so many years, and then, he died.

(This goes on a while…)

And then we get to Enoch.

Enoch had sons and daughters, fathered them, walked with God, lived so many years, and then he was not found, because God took him.

Genesis 5:23 (NLT) says it this way: “Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.”

(And it just keeps going, without any further explanation or anything!)

Enoch’s son had sons and daughters, fathered them, lived so many years, and then he died.

That huge dramatic moment gets slipped into the line-up and somehow, the understatement of it all highlights the whole thing. WHAT?! HOW?! You just took him away? He just went straight up to be with you? And then the world just kept going on as normal?!?!?

But the part that comforts me is that Enoch was “walking in close fellowship with God.” Dan was more like Christ than anyone I’ve ever met. He walked with God. He climbed mountains with God. And then “one day he disappeared, because God took him.” It reminds me of a t-shirt Dan loved to wear from a men’s retreat in the mountains the year prior. The back says, “Climb to glory.” And that is just exactly what he did.

We park the car. As we walk down the hallway to OSI, I’m completely glazed over. I stop in the bathroom for a cry before proceeding. We want explanations. We want this senselessness to make sense. We were created to be eternal beings. Death was not in the original plan. So our minds, bodies, and souls just can’t really ever reconcile a death. But our minds, bodies, and souls try so hard to. Grief is work. It cannot be avoided, only postponed. It’s difficult work that must take place. But the explanations don’t always come. The investigations sometimes turn up fruitless. But what is sure… we are left to decide how we will tell our story.

The Enoch Gate helps me retell my story in a way that comforts me. I have other choices of how I can tell this story. Some of my other choices end with bitterness, anger, resentment, confusion, guilt, etc, etc.

While I have no power in rewriting my story, I can choose how I retell it. I can frame it in a way that helps me arrive at a place of acceptance and surrender. And that’s my end goal. Because acceptance and surrender to the loving care of the Lord God Almighty is the safest, most protected place to be. Trusting the Lord is what keeps us at peace.

You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,

all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

-Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

In some of my most painful history, I’ve been taught to ask the Lord to take me back to those memories and show me where He was in the midst of that pain. Often when this happens, He sometimes helps me see it from a different perspective, therefore, retelling my story. And sometimes, He rewrites the story. Every author I know rewrites, edits, changes. It’s a natural parable of the process of redemption. While I have no power to rewrite my story, I know the Author who does.

And here I am today. I’m left with flowers on the side of the highway, an impossible hope that good can somehow come from this, and a trust in a God who doesn’t always explain Himself but who loves fiercely.

Do you see the white sign in the background? It reads “Cristo Te Ama.” It’s one of the most simple and most powerful phrases: Jesus Loves You.

Do you see the white sign in the background? It reads “Cristo Te Ama.” It’s one of the most simple and most powerful phrases: Jesus Loves You.

On our way back to town, the mountains are now in the background of Enoch Road. The sunflowers line the entire highway. I can’t help but remember the vision you gave Dan of the mountains and the words come to my mind again. “I see you. Your future is clear to me. And I LOVE YOU.”  Jesus. Jesus. Redeem it all. Redeem every last drop. Redeem it all.

On our way back to town, the mountains are now in the background of Enoch Road. The sunflowers line the entire highway. I can’t help but remember the vision you gave Dan of the mountains and the words come to my mind again. “I see you. Your future is clear to me. And I LOVE YOU.”

Jesus. Jesus. Redeem it all. Redeem every last drop. Redeem it all.


God is able to redeem, rewrite, and reframe your story. Ask Him to redeem what was stolen, broken, lost, or destroyed. He can, and He will. He is the Redeemer, and my Redeemer lives. He’s still living, breathing, and doing the work of redemption.

It takes some guts and some glory and a brave heart to approach His throne with your wounds and broken ends, but He is kind, merciful, able, and ever willing to work redemption for you. It’s Who He Is. It’s in His Nature. He’s Miracle Worker and Redeemer and He can’t not do it! He’s eager to perform His Word, my friends.

Just ask Him for the redemption. Ask and you will receive.

14985247099696.png