I finish my application. Before I send it, I pause, listening to the emotions warring inside of me. Excitement—“Jesus, I can hardly believe we’re here. I’ve wanted to do this for so long.” And fear—“Is it okay? Will they let me in?” It takes me about a minute to recognize that the question isn’t really about my application at all but about me. “Am I okay? Do you like the way you made me, like the way we’re writing this story together, or am I messing it up?”
They’re not new questions for me, but I’m learning to bring them to Jesus each time they surface instead of trying to push them away. Sometimes He reminds me of something He’s told me in the past, but often there’s some new, precious way He wants to love me in that same old place.
Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me. The words drift into my awareness, words that have echoed through my story since the wee hours of that dark Kabul morning as I awaited the little plane to carry me to my first glimpse of the village that would be my home. But this time instead of just letting them echo in my head I look them up. This time I see who is calling.
“Listen! My lover!
Look! Here he comes,
leaping across the mountains,
bounding over the hills. . . .” (Song of Solomon 2)
He’s leaping and bounding—toward me!
I’m not sensing much of a hesitation here, no wondering whether I really am right for him after all. He’s gazing through the windows, peering through the lattice as though he can’t wait to see my face.
He’s been calling me to come and love Him with body as well as heart, soul, and mind; now He’s showing me how. Leaping, bounding, nothing held back.
The scene shifts and I watch as He hears my cry for help and runs to me, splitting the heavens, shaking the earth, stooping and reaching and lifting me to Himself, to this wide-open place of delighting in each other. (Psalm 18)
And then. . .
He’s done with allegories now, done with images. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am. (John 17)
He who is limitless Love takes flesh to have one more way to love me.
The Psalmist’s God stoops again, but this time into a womb.
And again, and I feel His touch as the water splashes over my feet and He dries them with the towel around His waist.
And once more as He kneels in the garden, sweating whole centuries of agony.
He kneels beneath the whip and the too-heavy cross and the judgment of His Father whose face, until now, has only ever looked on Him with pleasure.
One knee isn’t enough for Him; He’s down on both, again and again and again.
And when His feet are nailed so He can’t kneel, he spends the last of His strength lifting His body against the spikes to love his mother into the arms of another: Dear woman, here is your son.
To love the soldiers who had beaten raw his back, rubbing now against rough wood with each breath: Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.
To love His Father: Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.
And to love me, speaking the words which tell me that nothing now stands in the way of my being all His forever: It. Is. Finished!
Taking it deeper:
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” (John 15:9; c.f. John 17:23)
What might it mean for you to walk with Jesus this week to the cross and watch Him loving you with all His heart and soul and mind and strength—loving you with the same intensity of love that exists between the persons of the Trinity? How might you want to respond?
This is the seventh in a series of Lenten posts exploring what it might look like to live fully alive to God with our bodies as well as our souls. Click on the links to read the first six: