“Do you think anyone, or anything is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us?” Romans 8:37-39 (MSG)
I have spent most of my professional life chasing something. Bigger boats, bigger houses, a bigger checking account, a happier customer, a happier family. My thoughts were everything but consumed with the Nazarene and if I’m being honest, Sundays and the occasional Wednesday service were the only days found giving purposeful reverence. These meditations were a postscript at best and usually motivated by something in the grey. As I get older, understanding just how much time has been consumed chasing the god of me becomes increasingly shameful.
All smoke and mirrors aside, here’s the truth - I love Jesus more than anything else but my actions, tone and words rarely communicate that. Most of the time I’m coming in hot, and patience is not my virtue, and if I’m having to perform against the clock both barrels are generously handed out. Hypocrite is plastered on the back of my jersey and my fleshly desires and defaults are toxic. How far I fall short cannot be measured and Satan does an excellent job reminding me of my sin and the number of miles between the pig pen and redemption ridge.
Monday morning, I wake up and I am blind. Some saliva and mud on Tuesday, and I can see. Wednesday I’m cheating Caesar and Thursday my net is full of fish. Friday I’m better off with a millstone tied around my neck. Saturday, my pride hurts the weaker vessel and Sunday, for a reason that escapes me, it’s His love that rolls the stone away for my undeserving dead body.
It is me who cracks the glass infused whip. It is me, pressing down on the crown of thorns. I am the one mocking the king of the Jews. I’m the one gambling for his tunic. I’m the one doubting who He actually is, while nailed to the neighboring cross. The Lamb of God Emmanuel it is I who betrayed you for a measly bag of silver and still to this day, would do it again if the temptation has enough flash. I am dirty, ugly and covered in blood. I’m not worth the spit hurled at your face much less the 39 lashings, nail perforated hands and abandonment from God Almighty Himself.
And then in a split second I’m reminded it was Him who left the immortal paradise of Heaven to save my wretched soul. It was Him who endured the ridicule and discomfort carrying my cross up that hill. It was Him, through a bloodstained lens, a pierced torso and a willing death consumed His thoughts with me, and nothing simulated. And as another mark of inadequacy prepares to leave my lips and the towel is ready to leave my hands, A rumble in the stillness of the October air booms “you were worth it, and I would do it again.”