for joy’s sake

i confess… at first, i wanted to ignore Easter this week.

it wasn’t that i wanted to avoid it, necessarily. but mentally, spiritually, emotionally, i didn’t feel up to the task of thinking on all that it means, all that it this weekend signifies. it is deeper than i wanted to go, and stronger than i wanted to admit. keeping away seemed safer. skimming the surface with a mere acknowledgement of the day rather than opening my heart to it seemed simpler. easier.

but how marvelous, how wonderful, that our God is one who pursues! who melts the hearts of stone.

almost as soon as i prayed for him to mend my unfeeling heart, what walls fell; walls of stone, built with bricks of of fear.

fear, because the reality is that i am incredibly helpless and incredibly imperfect. so much so that it required His blood – and i am terrified to admit that my condition is that serious.

i resist the truth that my heart was that depraved, that awful – that i would then need, beyond water itself, the blood of God to survive and His perfection to redeem my soul. i’d like to pretend that my heart only needed some of God’s time and attention, not His life. it’s easier to accept – easier to manage.

seeing myself and my sin for what it truly is means that i have nothing, am nothing on my own. it means that it is true: that the blood of my Savior was necessary, because of my actions, thoughts, and motives. my offenses against God were that serious.

my sinful heart could not be redeemed by a little of Jesus’ consideration. it required His massacre, destruction  and death. that’s what it cost Him.

the fear was of the shame of my sin, that was so severe that it required such a sacrifice. the fear was of what i would find in His face, there on the cross because of me. on my knees at the cross, i can hardly look up, hardly breathe for the terror of what this Savior must think of me, this human who rebelled and required Him to give everything for her to have a chance at reconciliation. that i put you there! that my sin held you there! it is almost too much to bear.

but when i do look up, the glorious, beautiful truth beams out from His eyes. there is no accusation, no disappointment, no condemnation. His eyes do not say, “you did this, you caused this”; nor do they say, “how could you?”

no. there is no derision or resentment there in His eyes.

it is instead the sweetest gaze of love my soul has ever tasted. and it pierces me to the core. 

“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

He endured such great pain: the physical pain of tearing flesh and the spiritual pain of tearing His perfect communion with His Father.

but not in spite. not with annoyance at the mean, cruel, lazy, insecure, lying, proud, rebellious, unfaithful, fickle, rude and hateful humans whose sin led him to Calvary.

he hung there for joy’s sake, for love’s sake. even as his body was ripped to shreds, he looked down and said, “Father, forgive them” (Luke 23:34) and so, i can accept his grace with joy! i can accept the most radical, sacrificial rescue ever to collide with the universe completely free of shame because he came, not to judge me for my failures, but to bring me back to Him.

i can rejoice, for he gave himself in joy.

and the shame will melt away 

when we see in light of day

that your blood has made us clean

and our souls are loved and seen

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One thought on “for joy’s sake

  1. Pingback: wave upon wave | WANDERING IN HOPE

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