I stopped by to tell you a story. I remember the last time I saw New York City. It was from the cold floor in the back of a dirty New York City bus station, through heroin eyes. And I remember the spring morning I ate peyote in a self-directed Native American rite. I was looking for a real supernatural God.
Among church folk, I stopped telling these stories years ago, because the wilder and crazier story you could tell, the more approval and attention you’d win. It wore thin.
What I do want to tell you is a different type of story. Not the story of coming out of a drug hazed culture, or out of Buddhism, or Native American shamanism, but of the person who led me out.
And why I followed him.
You see I’ve got a Spiritual Guide, and it’s called the Holy Spirit. And I’ve got a Spiritual Master who walks beside me, and his name is Jesus. And the reason I follow him is not because of who he is or what he’s done, but why he did it. And why he did it for you, too.
When I look at what Jesus did and what he went through for you and me, I’m startled. Not so much by what he did, but why he did it. His love baffles me. I can’t grasp it. It’s beyond me.
We all do things for love that we would never do for any other reason.
In my lifetime, I’ve sacrificially done things for my wife and children that I might never have done for myself. Love calls me further than I’m willing to go. Its then I find that my ‘line in the sand’ is behind me. Nothing is too great for the extravagance of love. It will go anywhere. Love will do whatever it takes for the object of its affection.
Because of love, God sent Jesus to make a way where there was no way.
When Scripture tells us that love is as strong as death, Jesus proved it. In fact, he shows us that our Father God’s love for us is stronger than death and hell, and anything else. Jesus broke through death and hell because he loves you and wants you and me to feel his love and acceptance. Jesus, “for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame.” Love broke through.
It startles me. It baffles me. It captures my heart. It’s a love that’s overflowing with joy and peace. Such love is beyond human beings. It’s because of this love that the God of all creation would carry the brokenness of all creation in his human body, ending it on the cross. It dumbfounds me.
Jesus could have come, and just shown us the way to God. He could have come and simply spoke of truth. Instead, he comes and says, “I Am God, come to rescue you.” So he comes under us, to lift us up. He comes to fill us with eternal life. But more than that, He comes to sit down beside us as a friend. Some who knows what we’ve been through, and loves us just the same.
It’s crazy that he doesn’t ask us to change anything. But he knows we really can’t. Our brokenness is embedded in our DNA, a hundred generations deep. So, instead of asking us to change, he does the exact opposite. Jesus asks us to receive him. He says “Come to me,” and then begins the change that changes everything that is. “Jesus un-wounds evil bit by bit” as he heals our lives from the inside out.
He says, “Come to me, all who are worn out and broken down, and I will give you rest.” And then he tells us how he’s going to do it. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I’m gentle with a humble heart. You’ll find rest for your souls because my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
The beauty of surrendering into the arms of love is that we can do it a thousand times a day, because we’ll need too.
When I stop and turn my eyes to what God has done for us, I see love that dumbfounds me and captures my heart all over again.
When I was in Buddhism, I reached a point where I thought, “Wait a minute, God wouldn’t make it so hard to reach him. God would make a way for the sick and the diseased and the mentally handicapped to come to him, and it wouldn’t take a thousand reincarnations to get there.”
I was hearing the call of love. I hope you hear it, too.
Hi, I’m Bob Holmes. I came to Jesus during the Jesus Movement and I haven’t recovered yet. I’m a professional Grower who’s an Anglican Franciscan Postulant. You can find me writing at Contemplative Monk, or hanging out on Facebook and Twitter.
A guest post for Innerwoven’s Lenten Series: Eyes in the Alley by yours truly. I hope it encourages you to break out of your comfort zone.