Some days, my blogs get a smattering of random hits (this blog and my old personal blog where I wrote for over a year). It seems like someone is rifling through my posts, trying to find something. I don’t know who or what or why.
Glancing at my statistics, today seems to have been one of those days. And I just feel that if you’re looking for something in my little space here, maybe-just-maybe, I can help you find it.
So, whether you’re a dear friend or a perfect stranger, settle in for a few minutes. I want to talk to you.
In church on Sunday, we talked about Martha and Mary and Jesus and about how Martha lost her focus about why she was doing what she was doing because she shifted her gaze from Jesus to Mary. I was thinking about how alike Martha and I are, although I’d never looked at this story from that particular perspective before, and Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus and Strangely Dim and Fix My Eyes came to my mind. Maybe you’re here because you’re like me, and you’re continually having to readjust your focus on Jesus instead of what everyone else is doing or even what you think you should be doing. Can I just say, as much to myself as to you, that God declares, “You will seek Me, and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). It’s that simple and straight-forward, so, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). Let us seek Him, and as we look to Him, may everything else fade away.
Maybe that’s not why you’re here at all.
Yesterday, I was listening to a piece on NPR interviewing the producer of a show called Maude from the early 1970s and they aired a clip from the show that addressed abortion, and I was floored by how callously the topic was being addressed, like it wasn’t a big deal, even then (pre- Roe v. Wade). Then I came to work and one of our campus organizations was airing October Baby as part of an ongoing dialogue about dignity for women, and let me tell you, I love the movie for a bajillion reasons, the chiefest of which is its declaration that if Jesus sets you free, you are truly free (John 8:36). And that’s not just for the girl who’s coming to terms with the conditions of her birth and adoption, but for the girl who has had an abortion. It’s a powerful and life-giving message: Jesus sets you free.
BUT my mind keeps going back to the fact that some people don’t think abortion is a big deal, it just is what it is. Shrug. They have nothing to be set free from, because they’ve done nothing wrong. I was seventeen the first time I a woman told me having her abortion was the right choice, but I’m not really talking about individuals here, I’m talking about the prevailing attitude in our culture: I decide what’s right for me. And the fact is, this attitude has been around since the Fall, and it’s present even within me.
All I can think is how blind we are when we can’t perceive our own sinfulness; when we’re not even willing to entertain that we are not good enough on our own, that we need Jesus; when we refuse to acknowledge any god but ourselves. And I’m overwhelmed, because I can’t combat that kind of blindness, but I move to peace when I remember that’s not my job. Like Jesus, I am simply to proclaim freedom to captives (Luke 4:18) – the ones who know they don’t have a chance of making it on their own.
Jesus says that when He sets you free, you are truly free. Whatever that sin is, however heinous, however hidden, Jesus invites you to release it and live life fully and freely.
Maybe you’re not here to hear my philosophy on life or freedom.
Maybe you came because it’s been a heavy season, and tears flow frequently and freely these days. The first year I became a believer, God sent me to the book of Isaiah in preparation for one of the saddest seasons of my life. Last year, during another difficult time, He sent me back. And chapter 25, verse 8 stood out to me both times: “He will swallow up death in victory, and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces.” During both seasons, I couldn’t wait to be done crying.
It reminds me of Revelation 21, a passage my family memorized when I was younger: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new! Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'” We still live in a world ruined by sin, but the time is coming when God will make all things new, and He made sure that John let us know.
It doesn’t take away the ache, I know. It doesn’t replace what we’ve lost, but it gives us something to hold onto when the empty spaces in our hearts threaten to consume us.
Maybe you’re here as an old friend, to see how I’m doing, or a new friend, to see who I am. I’m a work in progress, as I always have been, and always will be.
Whatever led you searching here today, I pray you’ve found it.