I have been doing a lot of contemplating lately. I have heard that is inevitable with any life change, whether a person is desirous of that change or not. Much of that contemplation has centered around an ever increasing fear about what changes I have to make in my life as a single parent and my choice to attend an expensive, private college.
Some of it centers around being a casualty of divorce for a second time around. I did not see it coming when my dad left and I did not see it coming this time either. I had dreams about it that, unfortunately, were spot on. But, I still thought they wouldn't come true, they couldn't. So, as any good casualty, I have wounds. What I have seen breed in the wounds of divorce is a belief that one isn't worth being known and a fear that being known is too dangerous.
Oddly enough, it is easy to transpose those feelings about people who hurt us to God. I find myself wondering in the back of my mind, "If i can't trust those who claim to follow God, then how can I trust God." Ridiculous as it sounds out loud, I know that I do it. I question the motives of those around me. I look heavenward and wonder how could God let this happen. Then, I fall back. What follows is a retreat such as not a war on the planet has seen. I reason that I am not worth being known or people wouldn't treat me that way. I also reason that being known is just too risky. Even if the one to know me would be the creator of the universe.
One night I was reading Forgotten God by Francis Chan when I heard Joy to the World playing in the background of the dvd I was watching. Although Chirstmas time is behind us, with the Easter season fast approaching, Christ's birth has been bouncing around my head along with all of the other thoughts. Immanuel, God with us, is so oft repeated during the Christmas season. It is a celebrated idea that has been such an appealing thought in the last year. As the anniversary of Christ's death and return to His father's right hand draws nearer, His last days and actions have caught my attention. There is something that He said that is often overshadowed by the Immanuel idea.
When I was little, I prayed a prayer with my mother to ask Jesus into my heart. In the last days of his life on Earth, Jesus spoke of someone who would come after him. As Joy to the World ended, Chan was reminding me of that very fact. Jesus went to prepare a place for us, the bride, as any good Jewish bridegroom would do before the wedding feast. But, He has not left us with the mere words, sweet love notes, or trinkets as proof of His immense love and promise to wed us to himself. No, He sent part of himself to be in us. A mere taste of the sweet intanglement of the Trinity.
For we do not have the Law alone as Israel did. We do not have the Bible alone. We have God indwelling us. When Jesus said, "It is Finished!", the veil was rent between Holy of Holies and the world. He opened himself up to us. He has chosen to place a part of Himself in us if we are willing. He offers to be in us in the good and the bad. A somewhat terrifying idea for anyone struggling with the idea of being known. The flip side of God offering to enter us is that He would know us, all of us.
As absolutely astonishing as it is that God's son would choose to take on human flesh and the sins of the world (and I in no way wish to demean that sacrifice), is it not also incredible that God would choose us to be the temple for His Holy Spirit! Some may say, "Well, duh!" But, in all my years of hearing things about our bodies being temples, I have never heard it celebrated as Chan did in his book. It was spoken of as the Law was by the Pharisees. Added onto until it was crushing, just as Eve did in the garden when she said they could not even touch the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
I didn't hear of it in humble adoration for this seemingly wild and crazy Creator, who so loved His creation ( that, let's face it, He could have just scrapped) that he gave of Himself again and again. Its one thing for Him to offer a way to cover my sins and another thing to be allowed to come to Him in all seasons. He takes it to the max and indwells me in my day to day muck! The whole Trinity singing a three part love song over us each and every day.
I won't pretend that I haven't had reservations. Men who lived with Jesus day in and day out had moments of doubt. But, I have decided that the hand that has been on my shoulder my entire life is worth the risk of being fully known. Once that step is achieved the story gets wilder. He wants to do things through us! Even though we might mess it up. I don't know how many times I taken something over from my daughter. "Just let mommy do it," I will say gently. All I really want to do is save a mess or some time. But not God. He is willing to get in there and let us make a mess.
He is teaching us not from the lofty perch before a grand hall full of students, but in the quick with us. All of this not because we are wonderful in and of ourselves, but because He is willing to love us just as we are. Coming from that place of acceptance makes the trials of molding ourselves more into His image endurable, even joyful. For when we fall, the Holy Spirit does not leave us in the muck to find someone more suitable. He whispers and waits patiently for us to stop thrashing about and listen. Then, He spurs us on, comforts us, and heals us.
No one gets through this life unscathed. Those who accept Him have the Holy Spirit making supplication for them when words fail. He allows us to do things beyond our capablilties as human beings, I cite the many accounts of the disciples singing in prison. He builds us up in times of dispair.
Given all of this, I can't help but think that our face should fairly glow as Moses' face did as he came down from the mountain, having been in the presence of the Almighty God. For now, we have Him in us.