I claim no rights to this photo...found it on the web
OK well I am not actually sitting in the rain. But I am watching the puddles form outside the windows while Ashby takes a nap (2 hours early...I guess she is tired from her weekend in LA with her cousins). I just poured myself my second cup of coffee (I guess I am tired too)
Jesus is so big. I cannot believe that He died for me. At the Easter service yesterday at MEFC the gospel group sang a Kirk Franklin song called "Don't Cry". You can hear it here. "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, through for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. BUT, God demonstrates his own love for us in this: WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us." Romans 5: 6-8
This is what God is teaching me.
While we were still powerless, Christ died for us. Its not a division of sin or doing bad things that separates me from God alone. It is also that there are not enough good things alone that I can do. We are powerless to do what only God can do.
The beauty of Easter to me that God is revealing is not only that He died in my place because I am human, broken and constantly turning to a way that leads to destruction. Not only did He die, He also rose from the dead in His power. I am actually thinking about what it means that death could not hold Him. Nothing could keep Him from returning.
Nothing scares me more than death. Nothing is more powerful. Nothing is more final. Yet God just shook it off. He didn't stay dead. How much more powerful is that than just stepping in for me for the punishment that I deserve.
I know that it isn't the pretty part of God to talk about atonement; about the fact that God is perfect and Holy. It scares people away. I know I have held my tongue because it is scary to think that the pathway is narrow and few will ever get to walk on it. I have discovered as God gently leads me away from shouldering the responsibility of my life's purpose toward trusting in Him fully, that I am afraid of this narrow pathway because of the cross. I have tried to save myself for so long. If only I could just be better. If only I could make everyone in my life happy. If only I could rid myself of my selfish tendencies, my inability, my fear, my doubt...fill in the blank.
Imagine that the man driving the nails into Jesus' hands was not a Roman soldier, but truly you and I. Imagine Him watching you do that, and His response to you is simple, deep, profound, wild love and compassion. All the while He is thinking, "If you didn't nail me to this cross, I could never come back to give you hope, to give you life, to give you all that you ache and long for when you lay alone in your room in the dark and all of the distractions are gone."
He isn't dead anymore. He is holding his hands out, nail scars reaching out to hold me even though I caused it. Could anything be more amazing. And crazy. And totally insanely hard to believe.
On the plane home last night, as Dave and Ashby slept, I cried. I don't know the exact moment that Jesus whispered into my ear that He died and rose again because of his love for me. I didn't do anything special. In fact, as I sat there tears streaming down my eyes I remember thinking how this comfort and feeling of complete peace was not my doing. And there was no guilt, no shame, no need to do something to earn it.
As the mascara ran down my face and I watched the sun setting over the horizon, Jesus was there with me. He always has been. I never had to create a place worthy of His presence. He was just there.
Washing over me as the rain comes to the earth now and puddles in the dirt. Making all things new. Making all things grow.
So I sit here in the downpour of God's love for me.
I believe with all of my heart that He wants that for you too...Nothing you must do. Nothing you must hide. Everything to gain.