The haunted black and white image of a man leaning on a rail of a ship caught my eye. Aged and from an era long ago, the man was looking back at the camera in an awkward pose. In the background, jagged ice naturally blended with a face resonating with the spirit of adventure.
This pictures was a part of frozen images recently discovered in an abandoned house in Antarctica. They chronicled the swirl of activity a hundred years ago when adventurers set out to explore this uncharted continent. Due to the extreme dangers, several expeditions were abandoned and many brave men lost their lives. At the abandoned home base of the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition (1910-1913), these black and white negatives were found.
The stories abandoned structures could tell.
Homes, barns, cars, churches, hospitals, and warehouses. Each have their own story. They were once a prized possession. Foundations were laid to launch dreams. Buildings were erected that once held a distinct purpose. Now what is left are tattered remains.
Growing up outside Seattle, there was an abandoned concrete frame of a building that sat upon the rise of a wooded hill overlooking the Puget Sound. Nobody really knew the whole story, but the popular rumor was that it was a coast guard listening post during World War II. Maybe this building, our young minds thought, helped track Japanese submarines venturing into the deep waters surrounding two important naval bases nearby.
If only the walls could talk.
Expeditions abandoned. Homes abandoned. Each lost to the elements and forgotten.
Only the foundations remain.
To know God, one author has suggested, is to abandon our self. This means to not just let go of dreams, ambitions or prayers, but to completely abandon them.
Our human nature tends to go on expeditions. Structures built on pride and self-serving interests are pain-stakingly built. Then the elements take over. The storms of life test us. We are left with two options. Ride the storm hoping our structure will hold up, or abandon it. Either option is painful. Dreams shattered. Disappointment lingers. Yet, in that option of abandonment, we find grace. A better plan. A stronger structure. A greater adventure.
Abandoning self means to trust fully in the promises of Christ. In His Word God goes to great lengths to let us know that He has not abandoned us.
While looking at pictures of abandoned buildings of the past, I can’t help but ponder the lives that were contained between those walls. I then think of my past that I have abandoned for the sake of Christ. Remnants of foolish expeditions still remain. Even then, and even now, the remaining walls talk of forgiveness and grace. I have moved on.
What was once abandoned has now been filled with the presence of Christ.