Reflecting on what Jesus did on this day brings me to a still, quiet place of awe and gratefulness. I can’t fathom His suffering, His love, His utter determination to not leave us as broken orphans in a broken world. He chose to heal us with his life—and death.
His choice cost him everything. We can’t fully comprehend.
For those of you who have followed my blog since the beginning three years ago, you know, life has taken our family on some twists and turns never expected.
I’ve had to learn that my plans are not necessarily God’s.
I have cried and begged God to take away “our cup”. When He didn’t, I believed He had a holy reason—one that would bring about good for our family and for others.
Still, I’ve not been as submitted and saintly as I would have hoped I would be in painful circumstances. Perhaps this is one of the reasons God allows them–to grow us up?
However, when my flesh is weak, my spirit is doggedly determined, thanks be to God.
I figured going for the gusto with God was a sure bet. So, I’ve sort of laid it all out, here in this cyber space. Like this . . .
In May of last year, when our young adult daughter literally lost her mind, I remember yelling back at God his own words, “You said a BRUISED REED you will not BREAK! Well, LOOK at us! LOOK at her! We’re BREAKING! She’s BROKEN! An ORPHAN! Broken! Do you CARE?”
Yes indeed! After dealing with too many disabilities to remember all at once, we learned that our daughter now had yet another diagnosis—Bipolar Disorder with psychosis. I was fed up! I was roaring mad at God, my faith flailing, I confess.
I told him how he expected too much of a mother and father and their children, allowing them permanent cognitive, behavioral, emotional, physical disabilities—all invisible—such that most people don’t know or even believe. I told him how isolated and misunderstood my husband and I have felt and still feel, often. I told him that new ever asked for this and that his choice of how to grow me SUCKED. (Like I should get to tell God how to do things!) I told him I knew he could squash me like a bug if he wanted. I really didn’t care. In fact, I half-dared him to.
Does anyone need a slight intermission to catch their breath at how horrid I’ve been—how dark and ungrateful and unfaithful?
Yeah. Me too.
But get this!
Jesus died for me anyway. He died for me just as I am—all ungrateful and haughty and thinking entitled and so horribly unaware of the way his grace works in me and my loved ones and the world, which still looks flawed beyond repair to me. Same for you? Do you believe?
I have mixed feelings about my feelings and how I’ve expressed them with God. But this I know—God knows me through and through. He created me, intense feelings and all. (Not that my expressions are always appropriate! I get to do a lot of apologizing and asking forgiveness!)
But Jesus knows my every thought and feeling so there’s no point in hiding. I might as well drop my fig leaves and stop pretending piety. I am who I am, God’s work still in process. And I thank God that Jesus is the greatest I AM! He trumps my “I am” every time!
For Jesus is stronger than my strongest refusal. He is stronger than my loudest lament. He is stronger than my most tenacious fist-pounding, foot-stomping temper tantrum.
I am God’s CHILD.
He will raise me up, no matter how low I have sunk.
Jesus died for this sunken creature he created. Because of his love, he died. Because of his love, he went all the way to the cross. All—the—way . . .
I stand before you, dear sojourners, just about naked on this page. No fig leaves. I’m a wreck, really. And I’m not proud of it. I’m not shouting it out to get anyone to say, “That’s alright. You’re fine.”
I’m not fine.
But I’m forgiven.
And He tells me . . .
I’m God’s child, immature though I still am. But he will have his way with me and I’m thoroughly thankful. Even when he disciplines me, I see his loving eyes and feel his tender heart. He’s strong enough to withstand my strongest emotions and bring good out of them. And believe me, I can be a tsunami, washing myself away and trying to protect others from the crush of me at the same time.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made—just like you—and I’ve come to understand that we really don’t understand as much as we think we do about why people think, feel, and behave as they do.
I’ve lived my whole life learning this lesson—as a child, as a psychologist, as a mother of the invisibly challenged who had her heart most broken when her oldest was hospitalized a year ago this spring behind a psych ward’s locked doors for twelve—whole—days.
As I walked off the ward sobbing into my palms, our daughter screaming as guards held her back, “MOM! Don’t leave me here!” past words of someone rang in my ears, “It will do her good to get away from you.”
Sometimes there are just no words of retort and the sting hurts long after. Sometimes I can’t forgive even though I want to, so I pray for God’s grace and I pray blessings on my “enemies” which really aren’t enemies—just other works in progress—beloved by God.
These disclosures of my rants with God, my struggles with spoken words of those who have hurt, I suspect will raise some brows . . .
God knows I keep praying for grace to accept his will, to keep praying for his will to be done in me, in all, no matter what. God knows I keep praying for grace—to infuse me with himself so I can love as he loves. I know only a bit about how short I fall . . .
I can do no good thing on my own.
But I can do all things through Christ . . .
Because he died today.
Because he died today, I can drop my fig leaves and be seen raw, naked, exposed, vulnerable.
Some can cast their judgments.
They are nullified.
Jesus died today!
He declared me not guilty.
Jesus paid for every—single—flaw I have.
I get to walk away free.
Same for you.
We can DARE to be REAL with JESUS.
He was stripped raw for us!
He was nailed through for us!
He cried blood-tears for us!
And then—He said—“IT IS FINISHED!”
He gave up his spirit.
And God, the Father, was satisfied.
His love/just nature was fully satisfied.
Jesus hung on the cross dead so we could come back to life.
He substituted himself for us.
He died so we could live.
There is nothing now that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus!
No emotion. No behavior. No disability. No human judgment.
We are FREE to live a TRUE LIFE—an abundant life with God, if we’ll let what Jesus did on the cross today be ENOUGH for us.
He is enough.
I cannot thank him enough for all the trials, for all the brokenness, for all the sins of others against me!
He has not wasted one—single—thing!
He has used every—single thing—every single person—every single hurt—to HEAL me—and YOU!
And get this . . .
He is so powerful, so sovereign, so ABLE . . .
That he has turned EVERY SINGLE SIN I’ve ever committed—every single one he bore on his body with whips and nails—for GOOD, even though sin’s consequences have been painful.
Jesus has worked ALL for good, for US!
That’s how GOOD God is!
PRAISE YOU JESUS!
PRAISE YOU FOREVER!
YOU ARE WORTHY OF ALL HONOR AND PRAISE!
This time, I’m not screaming in frustration or pain!
I’m screaming PRAISE!
Because Jesus will NEVER, EVER leave us in pain, if we have even just a mustard seed-sized grain of faith!
All PAIN will be transformed into PRAISE, for those who believe, even a little!
Oh Lord Jesus! I thank you! I praise you! I pray for all who don’t know you! I pray for all those still posing, still trying too hard! I pray for those whose faith is flailing! I pray you will help loosen fig leaves and let them drop! I pray all hurting souls will find you safe, loving, accepting, forgiving, transforming. I pray you will strengthen those who know their need of YOU!
PRAISE YOU, LORD JESUS!
Now and forever!
Indeed, this is a GOOD Friday!