One of my fondest memories is about visiting my favorite ice cream parlor, Baskin-Robbins. They are known for their “31 flavors” of world-famous ice cream. It was a dream come true, small pink plastic spoons holding samples of 31 different flavors on a conveyor belt to my tummy. I wanted to try them all.
The “31 flavors” was a brilliant marketing move, encouraging customers to try a different flavor every day of the month. I worked the marketing in reverse, attempting to try as many of the 31 flavors on a single day as my mother would allow. I was a member of their Birthday Club and couldn’t wait to receive my brown and pink polka dot post card in the mail. In the days leading up to my birthday, I would wait for the postman, hovering near the front door, anticipating the special card. Those were sweet times, and for a child, the waiting and anticipating made eating the free cone of my favorite flavor a very special event.
My sweet tooth craved Rocky Road, and to this day it is still my favorite. The description is ‘travel the Rocky Road to Deliciousness.’ Whether my birthday, Christmas, or some other special occasion, I made it a point to hit the Rocky Road to deliciousness. In the good old days, ice cream was a big deal, but now, there’s a toy every time you take the kids to a store, and if you want it, ice cream seven days a week. Honestly, there are at least thirty-one flavors of every ice cream brand in all the grocery stores. Not exactly a rocky road, sounds like it is paved with indulgence.
It’s funny how my favorite ice cream describes my life so appropriately, because it has been a rocky road. When I decided to surrender my life to Jesus, there was a lot of junk to surrender; my sin, pride, past mistakes, abandonment, rejection, loneliness, depression, divorce, unrealistic expectations, fear, self-loathing, and I could go up and down another mountain of rocks. Despite my rocky past, God had always loved me, regardless of what I had or had not done. No matter if I saw the problems as pebbles or boulders, God said “trust me with it all.”
The Apostle Paul considered himself to be the worst of all sinners. Yet, after fully surrendering his life to Christ, it was full speed ahead telling everyone in his path about Jesus. In Paul’s first letter to Timothy 1:15-16 (NLT) he shares about his relationship with Jesus, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.”
Paul’s road as a follower of Jesus Christ was anything but smooth, it was the real rocky road. In Second Corinthians 11:24-27 (NLT) we see how hard, “Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.”
The normal natural man could not have endured but drawing from the well of supernatural strength makes all things possible. God used the worst of sinners to write the majority of the New Testament. God forgave Paul for his horrible past mistakes, and He forgives us as we ask for His forgiveness.
Instead of selecting a different ice cream flavor each day, consider the Book of Proverbs in the Old Testament. Proverbs has thirty-one short chapters, one for each day of the month. Why not challenge yourself with something sweet for the soul? In fact, my all-time favorite scripture selection is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”
For many people, the past stands blocking the road to the future, God’s future for you. All the old stuff keeps us from experiencing God’s new! Daily life is a mere skirmish, the real battle is always with ourselves. When we surrender everything to Him, and live in obedience, he pounds the boulders into pebbles, the pebbles into a fine dust, and then He scatters it as far as the east is from the west.