The mystery of being for others

I’m struggling to write this post. I have been for a week. It’s not that that I have nothing to say. Rather that the deeper I reach into mystery, the more words fail.


How do I speak the mystery that God’s being is, in the words of T. F. Torrence, “his being for others”?  That all that God is, he is for us? What words can do more than bounce off our dulled human capacities and roll around, meaning nothing to us who nonetheless must learn to live in this truth to be truly human?


I sit in church on Sunday, the cross still standing, draped with purple and white. Tangible evidence of the mystery of God being for us. Of the cost of such being for others. And of the promise that this way of being leads to life.


I take the bread, the wine, and hear him whisper, “All that I am, I am for you.”


“For the totality of the divine nature lives in Christ in bodily form, and you have been filled in Christ. . .” (Colossians 2:9-10)


I start to move on, to consider how individual and person are far from synonymous. How being a person – human or divine – does not mean being a self-contained individual but being in communion. He stops me. “Stay here. Soak in this. All that I am, I am for you.”

He knows my heart needs to hear it again. Today, when there’s no energy left. When I sit and pray yet again to be given words, the drafts all lying half-written and dead.  When I feel empty and useless and sad. What, in this moment, does it mean: “All that I am, I am for you?”


“When you have no strength, I am your strength.”


“When you have no words, I remain the Word.”


“When you seek truth, return again to Me, for I Am the Truth.”


“But, Jesus, how? How, in this place, do I let you be all of that to me?”


The words of another ring in my head and I picture myself half-lying in a corner, nothing left to give. Alone. “Jesus, will you come and be with me in this corner? I need you and I want you.” He comes, not afraid of my mess. “All that I am, I am for you.”


In his presence, I ask myself what I’m holding onto. What is keeping me from enjoying the perfect, never-ending love that He offers? To what am I clinging? A desire for affirmation? For security? For control? Or for change – in myself, the situation, or others? Sometimes all four are wildly active, sometimes just one or two. Today. . .?


I turn to him, clenched fists open. “Jesus, I offer you my desire for control. I am your servant. Speak through me if you want, when you want.” He receives all that I offer, freeing me from its grip. Sometimes I can’t let go. At least I can usually invite him into my resistance. “Jesus, I can’t honestly let go of my desire for affirmation yet. But I want you with me. Will you stay? And will you do in me what I can’t do in myself?”

He stays, and in his quiet gentleness, my clenched hands begin to open and my heart to thaw and I begin to receive the all that He offers.