MAYBE INSTEAD OF GIVING SOMETHING UP
WE GIVE SOMETHING MORE
In a day filled with Divine imagination…the Maker took the dust of the earth He had just created, fashioned it into flesh, and, in His hands, caressed the heart of us, just enough for it to start beating.
Before He even scooped up that first handful of dirt, He saw the end – but He did it anyway.
In the peace of His pleasure, for the sheer joy of friendship, He preferred our presence, over any anguish to Himself that our lives might bring forth.
Over eternity without us, He chose establishing a people He could call His own. And then, in the genius of His hope, gave us the power to decide whether we wanted to be His – or not.
With the first breath He breathed into our nostrils, He knew that we were going to try to breathe on our own – and in so doing, cut ourselves off from our only Source of Life.
But He didn’t let that stop Him.
He wasn’t deterred by our fall, He didn’t give up at our disobedience, He wasn’t dissuaded by our stiff necks.
Our deficiency in law-keeping only heightened the glory of His plan.
He knew one day a tree would be cut down into long beams and fastened together in a shape that would cause His greatest agony – He planted it anyway.
He knew metal would be mined and refined, honed into a spear that would pierce His side in His most vulnerable moments – He pressed the ore into the ground anyway.
He knew a man would rake His back with a whip.
He knew a man would turn his back on His innocence.
He knew a man would go back on his word.
He created a Roman soldier – and Pilate – and Peter anyway.
What kind of outrageous love sees the depths of our death – and, in His blameless perfection, chooses to bind Himself to a cross instead?
What kind of incomprehensible passion pursues us to the end of the earth, backs us up against the walls of our own selfishness, and still gives us the opportunity to choose Him – or not?
Only a Love with which we are enormously unfamiliar.
Even in our most inspired moments – we cannot comprehend how wide, how long, how high, and how deep is the measure of it.
And I think, sometimes, we confuse His love for us, with our love for us.
We neglect the promises of His forgiveness – which triggers shame for ourselves. We doubt His ability to make new – and continue to live in the dead. We dismiss the power of His Spirit – which leaves ourselves as our only source of strength.
Our love is so guarded…or suspicious…or wary. At its best, it is still limited to the confines of human parameters. And we fail to differentiate between our understanding of love, and His.
Ours is so human…we forget that His is so holy. We forget that His love is, well – Him.
Love knows us fully and asks to be fully known.
Love covers our un-holiness with His Holiness.
Love seeks to reveal that there is so much more than we think we see, to reassure that He is so much more than we could ever imagine Him to be.
I have questioned Him these past few weeks. “What, Lord, could I give up, that would honor You in the sacrificing of it?”
“What area of my life, what section of my mind, what piece of soul could I offer that would glorify You the most?”
Time and experience have taught me that I cannot ask a question without waiting for an answer. His Spirit speaks low and soft as I lean in to hear…
“Child, I don’t want you to give up – I want you to give more.”
“I don’t want a part, or a section, or a piece…I want the whole.. Because when I have the whole of you – you have the whole of Me.”
Then He reached His hand down to take mine. nail scars brush against my skin and remind me He is Worthy.
So, in the spirit of giving Him more – I have chosen to make a list for these next 5 weeks leading up to Easter.
A recounting of how I saw Him each day. Because keeping a record of Jesus at work in my life, is like receiving a love letter from Him each day reminding me I am on His mind.
Words inscribed, not just on paper, but in my heart, that the Lover of my soul is so taken with me that He can’t keep Himself from dabbling in my days.
That I walk, my hand in His, with a Redeemer who allowed Himself to be covered in blood, so that I could be covered in righteousness.
I thank Him for the revealing of His love in a friend…or maybe the reminder of His power in a husband who prays for me.
I tell Him His sunset left me breathless…I tell Him how beautiful He was in the face of a grandson today.
The more I list – the more I love Him.
The more I love Him, the more I trust Him…with not just a piece, or a section – but the whole of me. Even those ragged and jagged parts of me are soothed in the consolation of His Grace.
I am filled with the fullness of Him in the surrender to Him.
So, maybe, this Lent, the sacrifice we offer is not less of something, but more of us – the whole of us.
And in the offering of more – we are filled with the fullness of the Most High.
“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Eph. 3:19 NLT