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Restricted access

Restricted access

14 September 2020

The freedom we had come to take for granted was taken away in 2020, but a relationship with Jesus can be accessed at all times.

By Barry Casey

We have just experienced the bleakest winter I can recall, and I am not just referring to the weather.

Now, I can already hear Queenslanders saying, “What is he talking about? Queensland is beautiful one day and perfect the next!” And I am aware that Darwin’s weather gauge does not know what it means to drop below 30 degrees at any time – let alone during the winter months!

However, I stand by my opening statement.

To make matters worse, during what seemed like our coldest snap this winter, the heating in my house decided to play by its own rules. On many occasions when I pressed the ‘on’ button at the control panel, instead of me beginning to feel a sense of warmth as the house began to heat up, a message would appear that read: ‘restricted access’. No matter what button I pushed (and I pushed every button I could find), that very same message would flash across the screen.It left me feeling extremely frustrated – and very cold!

Over the past few months – these bleak winter months – it seems that we, as a nation, have experienced the reality of that message that constantly flashed across my heating control screen – ‘restricted access’. No one has been exempted. The freedom we had come to take for granted was no longer ours.

Who would ever have imagined that there would be a time in our lives when we would be denied access to freely travel across state borders, that they would be heavily guarded and patrolled – not only by police, but also the military – and that anyone trying to cross them would receive a hefty fine, at best! It has been a bleak winter, indeed!

I want to acknowledge the distress this has caused many people. There have been numerous reasons and personal circumstances that have made it so important for some people to be able to travel interstate – significant family celebrations, medical appointments, family illness and even loss and grief. However, no matter what the reason, for most, access has been denied. 

I am not wanting to make light of this, and fully understand that it is for the safety and wellbeing of all Australians – and I am most grateful for all that has been put in place for our benefit. But I am so looking forward to the day when access will no longer be restricted or denied, and we have the freedom again to travel around this great nation – even without a reason or set purpose.

One thing that gives me a deep sense of hope and fills me with joy is the reality that Jesus invites me into a relationship with him. A relationship that knows no borders, has no restrictions placed on it, and one that is freely accessible every moment of the day.

But what is ever greater news is that this invitation from Jesus is not just for me – it is for everyone. 

This has been a bleak winter. These past months have been extremely difficult for many people, and the impact it has had on them cannot – and must not – be ignored. But the good news is this: Jesus is greater than any storm – and he, the Lord of all eternity – wants, more than anything else, to enter into a deeply personal relationship with you. Listen to the invitation he gives – an invitation to rest in him:

“Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear” (Matthew chapter 11, verses 28-30, The Passion Bible translation).

Major Barry Casey is The Salvation Army Secretary for Spiritual Life Development.

This article first appeared in Salvos Magazine

 

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