Yeah, I see you come in. It’s strategically 9 minutes past and you know the lights are dimmed and people are standing and the music is blaring so when you slip in the back row, along with the others who arrive late, no one even notices you. You carry ink on your skin – you’re covered. You’ve got punctured metal in weird places, and that odor permeating through your clothes will likely give you away, but you slip in at 9 minutes past because people are distracted and hopefully no one will notice.
Yeah, but I see you.
You stand next to an old woman, alone. You both let out a smile and a nod through the laser lights and electric guitar. The final chord, the music fades, the lights go up and then you sit and hear the man mumbling from the front. You try, but your head is still ringing from the loud music, and pounding from too many one-ounce mistakes made last night to make any sense of it all.
Yeah, I see you.
A few minutes in you lift your head out of the fog of fumes and glance around to make way of your surroundings. You make eye contact with someone across the aisle. She quickly looks away – she knows you caught her staring and you know why. You’ve seen that look before a thousand times, and you know what kind of judgment hides behind those Christian eyes. I know that hurts you, and that deeply hurts me too, but try to be gracious, I’m doing something in her, too. You put your head down again, fighting both the hangover and the urge to get up and leave.
Yeah, I see you.
Your mind drifts from the man up front to the chaos of last night. A rueful smile fills your mouth as you shake your head at who you’ve become. Retracing, replaying, refeeling. You have shame. Deep, rooted shame, and it’s been there for quite sometime. I want you to know you’ve felt that feeling of shame for too long. That feeling is not from me and has no place in my presence. You replay your lifetime of slip-ups, bad choices, and one too manies and I keep trying to tell you that’s enough. I know who you are, I’ve seen what you’ve done and what was done to you. I am not ashamed of you or what you’ve done. I am not surprised by you or what you’ve done. And I will not give up on you because you keep going back.
I am not ashamed of you or what you’ve done. I am not surprised by you or what you’ve done. And I will not give up on you because you keep going back.
In fact, you willed your way out of your stupor enough to battle the judging eyes to get here. You came looking for me, and today I’m meeting you here, and I have some news for you. This is your day of reckoning. Right here, right now. This is the appointed time where your road of self ends, and you begin your life again, anew. So right now, right this moment, I am asking that you come to me and let me in.
When you come to me you lay all that at my feet and you do away with it. Bring it all. Don’t leave it behind or try to hide it. That past has formed who you are but that is not who you are. I want you to bring the weight, the shackles, the chains, the lies, the pills, the scales, the magazines, the bottles, the self-righteousness, the hindrances. Come to me with them and let me take them from you and make them mine. Come as you are, as you have been, but don’t wait to come until you are who you hoped you’d be. I want you now. I wanted you then, and I want you forever. Those bad things you keep holding on to, I was with you in, and I forgave you for. Once, for all. I said “it is finished”. It’s over, it’s done. My life for yours. Your sin was mine and I would do it again right now if I needed to because I love you.
Come as you are, as you have been, but don’t wait to come until you are who you hoped you’d be.
I have always loved you and I will always love you and there’s nothing you bring to this place with your stale breath, and coming down high, and fortressed heart, that will ever stop me from loving you more in this moment than I already do. Nothing.
So yeah, I love you.
You sit in your seat, stomach upset, mind racing, future planning, all while your heart is trying to track. I know you’re thinking I cannot use you, but I can and I want to. You’re the one I’ve chosen, yes, you. Yes the one with torn jeans, no money, full of self-loathing and self-doubt, full of little faith. Yeah, you. It’s time you lay down your preferences and your privileges, and walk boldly, humbly, and expectantly with me. It’s not what I’m calling you to tomorrow, it’s what I am calling you to today. This minute. This moment. I’m asking you to put one foot in front of the other. Crawling, walking, stumbling, running by faith and trust Me the whole journey. It will be the ride of a lifetime, I guarantee.
The service ends, the people cattle through the door, and yet you are glued to your seat. Paralyzed by this marked moment. You have been forgiven and set free and I have asked you to walk a lifetime with me, and serve your world the Gospel of grace and truth. Sweat beads on your brow, butterflies tickle in your gut, and your heart races. Your time is now. Go.
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Image Credit: Jonas Tana, Creative Commons