My friend is gone. Ripped suddenly, violently from my life and that should be what I’m talking about. For a week now I’ve been waiting, waiting for the grief and confusion to take me- to shake me down and buckle me over. Waiting for the crater to cause me to bleed out. Truly there is a hole in my heart. But there is a man standing in the middle of it and I am not taken by the pain. Of this I am now more certain than ever.
God is a personal God.
Nearly every race on the planet honors some sort of divinity. Some master- some maker. Worship is intrinsic. But nearly every faith creates in it this also, space. The great divide between maker and made. I have professed to be a Christian for the entirety of my adult life and yet somehow until recently this primary truth, perhaps the truest point of the Christian faith has eluded me; at least in any real form. The entire purpose of Christ’s life, death and resurrection was to remove the space.
And this promised Holy Spirit?.. what a strange thing. With a charismatic background the phrase Holy Spirit embodied mysticism, and strange behaviors- an elusive and optional portion to the faith. What a sickening perception. This spirit is Christ’s very own spirit! It’s Jesus. Not only did God dwell with us He now chooses to dwell in us! How can this be? No more space.
Why do I say this?
Because life is merciless. The same day one of my rabbits had a litter of bunnies the other died in childbirth. I buried her and the three babies that didn’t make it. It’s a creation at war. Purposed for life and yet under a curse. A terrible broken curse. Longing for truth and full of lies. And it takes one small taste of suffering to see how desperately broken this whole thing is. How not reconciled we are. And a God in the sky- a God out there- well, that God. He’s not going to cut it. His sovereignty is too cruel. His knowing too for naught.
But this Emmanuel. This deity who chooses to know those who so desperately need to be known. Who sees each individual pain- he doesn’t just bandage the pain from a distance. He walks into the middle of it and says “be healed”. Jesus is still alive and well. And He still doing what we saw Him doing two thousand years ago. He is mending what is, and reviving what is dead. He is dispelling the lies and restoring hope.
Beloved, God must be personal to you. Not relative, but personal. The man Jesus cannot be a picture on the wall. A picture will not bring purpose to the most wrong of all circumstances. He cannot be theory, rhetoric or even good doctrine. He must be the eyes we look into when there is not understanding and the arms we yield to when life affords no comfort. He must be a man so capable that when He says “I will make all things new” we believe.
This is Christ. The beautiful one who removes all distance from the one thing we need most. Life-giving, unending, all-powerful love- himself- divine love. So many of us- so many of us in rows in our churches are walking through life without a personal revelation of the one we confess to follow. This need not be! This cannot be! Christ must be to us our dearest friend and our greatest fortress. Not in theory. In truth. Accessible in our biggest need and smallest victory.
And so, I make this earnest petition. Ask. This is not a God who sits far off and demands of us. He is a God who lowered himself to suffer with us and now pleads on our behalf. And the only bidding He does of us, is to recognize our need and believe He is sufficient to fill it. If we will ask “God. Please reveal yourself to me?” He will do it. Ask and keep asking. Knock and keep knocking. It’s a prayer He’s been waiting to answer since before the dawn of time. He has viewed each of us with a deep longing. Each of us so unique and splendid because of His divine initiative. You are personal to Him. Let Him be personal to you.
Father, this I pray in earnest- knowing full well it was a prayer on your heart before it was ever on mine. That you would draw us to you and we would see the majesty of Christ- that we are free to come. To come and be healed, be filled, be whole. For those who are buffeted, weary and beset be the strong fortress they so desperately need and the great comforter. Give us revelation where we are ignorant and faith where we doubt. You have been good to me and I lift my eyes to tell you that You are beautiful. Thank you.