It’s three days until I am free. I have felt every torture, yearning, burning, loneliness and hell that could possibly consume me. It has been more than suffering. It has been understanding. It has been God’s distance. It has been thirst, and awakening and power in missing Him. And that has been the theme of my Lent- appreciation.
In the midst of my black hole I begged God to rescue me. It wasn’t the nails in His hands that moved me, the blood, the crown of thorns. It wasn’t the crucifixion. It wasn’t His dead body hanging in front of my face. No- those images had all become just that- images. What finally moved me? Pain. The pain of missing Him, the pain of realizing that without Him I am nothing…
I took my daughter out for some alone time. I had never been to Hobby Lobby. God was still distant and I wondered if I I’d ever come back. We wandered in and there He was- everywhere. And every verse wasn’t just some cliché saying, it was His love letter to me.
Maybe you were made for a moment just like this. I have loved you with an everlasting love. You are precious to me. I am here. And I am here. And I am… here.
I noticed a wall of crosses. They weren’t sad. They were wood. There were hearts. They were big and small. They spanned an aisle. They were still. He was in all of them.
I realized I didn’t have to be sad, but it was good to be. I missed Him with a lover’s longing. I realized He fulfilled me in places I didn’t know He could. I cried, right in the middle of the aisle staring at those crosses.
My daughter asked me what was wrong. I couldn’t speak, He was everywhere. And the cross wasn’t bloody, it was wonderful. Because the pain was missing Him, it was always missing Him, it was never anything else.
So she held my hand and I stared. I didn’t see just a plastic corpse on a cross, I saw love. I realized that the bible was beautiful. I realized that it wasn’t a book, it was a love song. I realized He wrote it to me.
I couldn’t leave the store, He was everywhere. And I was filled in a way that can only be explained through a spiritual EKG. We talk a lot about theology and that is ok. We talk a lot about who’s right. But we don’t talk a lot about Him, just Him.
He was more real to me in that store than you would have been had you been standing next to me. You can tell me He doesn’t exist, I’ll still be dancing with Him. He didn’t take away His love from me, He showed me what it was like to live without it.
So the world can now fade away. I am still dancing with Him. I am burst open. I am His.
May you rejoice in Him, His resurrection, His power and His victory. May you know Him in a deep and meaningful way. May your bible become a springboard for His love. And may your last couple of days in the desert be spent in glorious anticipation of His homecoming.
Jesus Christ Has Risen!