I always delight to see new life peeping out through challenge and hardship and death. Branches scattered on the ground, victims of the most recent wind—and buds, too, fattening on magnolias and rhododendrons.
A father’s long-awaited surgery—and his surer steps after.
A niece’s long nights of labor—and a precious new boy at the end. (Not to mention the fun of watching the puppy become a protector.)
The signs are everywhere if I keep my eyes open, reminders of the certainty that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.
But there’s one moment from this past week that stands out, one place I most deeply glimpsed the source of life and hope from which all other hope springs.
I’d just returned from my bike ride, parked my bike and locked the door of the shed after me. As I stood by the corner of the building, bending my knee and grasping my foot to stretch my quads, Jesus and I continued our conversation. I’d been talking with him about something I was seeing in myself that I didn’t like.
In my imagination, I parted my chest wall like a set of curtains to show him my heart, saying, “Look, Jesus, my heart is broken.” I wanted him to see the wounds, the sin, to hear my plea for him to do in me what only he can do.
Without a word, but with great tenderness in his eyes and hands, he reached into my chest, took my heart in his hands—and kissed it!
Then, looking into my eyes, he spoke the words I hadn’t known I needed to hear, “I love your heart.”
I’ve returned to that moment again and again, soaking in the gift of the gentleness, the kiss, the words.
“I love your heart.” Perhaps it’s always the first thing we need to hear when we see in ourselves something uncomfortable. We are already loved, with nothing to earn or prove. And Jesus is in this with us for the long haul, committed to tending our hearts and drawing them closer to his own. There, alone, held in his love, can our hearts heal and flourish.