One way ends, another begins. Recycled Syntyche. Reused like an old bike, broken apart, its parts repurposed and passed on. She always wanted to believe that God could recycle her into something new and sleek with lots of good gears to travel light and with speed. That’s called living with hope. But what happens when you…
I am what I am, she said laying it out before Him and He said, I Am Who I Am, in reply.
She’s a What and He’s a Who, this she knew. She would rather live with Him in Whohood but she just couldn’t seem to make it out of Whathood.
Demands, disappointments, disagreements did her in. She and Euodias both thought they were right. The more people Euodias was able to pull on her side the less Syntyche stood a chance. It was one opinion against another. The battle was fierce and left Syntyche lying by a lake with battered battle gear wondering where Her Savior was. Love one another, He says…(Hadn’t she tried?) Whatever is true, honest, just, pure, lovely…think on these things…and the God of peace will be with you.
Where are You? She had cried.
Syntyche wanted peace. It had been a grueling battle that left her Shield in the repair shop. She hadn’t worn her Helmet because it messed up her hair. Her Belt needed two more holes, hung lose and was in her way most of the time, she never felt at ease with the Breastplate, her arms were too weak to manage the Sword, and the Shoes were not her style. She was always particular about her shoes so she avoided wearing her Battle Shoes whenever she could get away with it. It wasn’t long before her attention was drawn away from Him and was focused on proving that she was right, or at least she felt she deserved to be. Hadn’t she worked hard? Hadn’t she done her best? Hadn’t she given it her all? Slowly, she began to do things her way, not His. Unintentionally, even unconsciously at first.
I’ll tell you the story.
Syntyche loved the freedom of riding her bike. She had a perfectly good Schwin three-speed but her eyes were drawn to a shiny new one, lightweight, with high gears. Her old one was heavy and had an irritating squeak, which could have been helped with a little oil but she never got around to it, so she decided to trade it in. The helpful salesperson at the Bikeshop made it easy and she road off with a shiny new road bike, perfect for maneuvering around people and traffic. Up and down the streets of Whathood she traveled, often just to escape. There was moody music and mystery, and it was easy to get lost in the shadows of the tall buildings and crowds. She liked that.
Soon she knew all the good routes to take with her new skinny wheels and could travel at high speed. She would look up to the high hills surrounding Whathood above her but was easily entertained by all the distractions below. There was one particular place she loved to go alone. She could swim there, and practice her strokes which strengthened her arms. This was a good thing she knew and she practiced hard. It took a while to have the strength to cross the width of the lake on her own but was pleased with herself when, one day, she finally made it across.
As she started to swim back, an odd and eerie wind rose out of the east as it was prone to do, and the water’s glassy surface began to create swells. They grew large, the sky turned dark, and opened into an unexpected downpour. The current pulled against her and she was forced back to the shore she had just reached. Syntych tried her best to find cover but the ground was gnarled with thistles and thorns that stuck to her feet. She finally gave up and huddled beneath some trees for cover, shivering and eventually sobbing herself into a sleep.
She dreamt of a time she had hiked in the sunlight up in the high hills surrounding Whathood with I Am Who I Am. He had braided together a handful of delicate flowers and she had worn it like a crown. The flora was sweet and its scent lingered on her skin and hair. The breeze was light and the wings of the birds overhead urged her on, higher and higher with Him, accompanying them with songs of praise.
When she woke, the storm had passed but the cold and wet had weakened her. The ground was soaked as she rose and tried to take some steps. Her feet sank beneath the earth. It took quite a while to reach the water, now again glassy smooth. The sky was overcast and, doing her best not to panic, made her way back across with sheer determination, only to discover someone had stolen her new bike.
This is only the beginning of the story, but the Whathood Syntych had unintentionally been drawn to, changed for her that day. The winding streets no longer enticed her, they were simply there to pass. She knew where they led and had been down them many times. She never was able to get her old bike back. They had broken it apart and used the parts. She still misses it every day.
But now she walks on the path that leads to the hills, and takes time to see the beauty around her. She goes with her Lord and each day seems to travel a little higher. She has discovered the steeper it is, the narrower so she always asks Him to go along.
She is gaining strength and skill, and He is teaching her how to maneuver in her armor with precision. She returns refreshed. The peace and the light stay with her, revealing the dirt and dust found in the cracks of the buildings and the broken hearts of those in need of the healing she has discovered in the hills, and now she does her very best to pass it along, for Him.
Euodias amd Syntych: Philippians 4:2-3, 8; God’s Armor: Ephesians 6:11