“What Will a Life Magnify?”
As he walked to calvary, as people spat and spurned, did Jesus continue to give thanks to God the father? When he was so greatly burdened, bowed down with the heavy load, bruised, agonizing, and all he could see were the dusty feet of those crying out for his death, what did Jesus feel toward those casting stones at him?
I’ll bet Jesus did long to wash those dusty feet. Indeed, his death was like the washing of their dusty feet… and ours. The night before he died, he washed his disciples’ feet. The day before bowing low while carrying his cross, the master bent low in humble service, giving to his beloved friends, those whom he trusted and those who followed him, those closest to him on earth, but still not fully understanding the mystery about him and what was about to unfold.
I’m certain Jesus was very lonely. No one really understood him. Or what he was really about. Until he was gone.
I wonder… do I understand any better than they? Even with the benefit of the Word written before me, the benefit of hindsight… they didn’t see what was coming, but I see retrospectively. Yet… they walked with him, in his presence, in daily closeness. Whose perspective should be more clear? We’re all seeing through a window muddy and eyes curtained, veiled here on earth, and must ask God to continuously wipe our lenses and hearts clean. For my default is to see not as things are, but as I am, from where I am, from who I am.
He was giving thanks to God, and asking for mercy for those around him. He surrendered his life, in order to give us life and offer us hope.
Ultimate surrender, leading to ultimate joy—communion with the Father. Ultimate grace he pours out, full surrender, willing, arms open wide, hands nailed, carrying the scourge of death and sin and agony of hell, so that we can even have the hope of understanding one iota, one “yod”, about grace, love, gratitude, joy. Without him, we couldn’t understand any of it, much less live it, or offer it.
He didn’t hurl rocks back, spit, cast angry glances, clamor back for the death of those killing him. His death washed the dusty feet of those killing him… his death washed sinful hearts clean of caked sin and self.
The words he spoke and breathed were grace-filled; he committed himself into God’s hands, and prayed in his prayer for forgiveness for those who killed him—words that reveal his heart. Love in that heart, God-love, in human bones and flesh.
Gentle and humble, not proud or vindictive, not even considering himself to be equal with God.
This is Jesus, who my heart follows.
This Jesus, who hung around with the imperfect people, the sinners, the outcasts, the folks who just didn’t have it all together.
I’m one of those he would have spent time with. I’m ok with that.
Earthen shells, those of us following in his steps, also can be receptacles for this God-love, as we pour out what he gives us—as his love spills over and washes over those around us with a power that can heal.
But, it’s hard, isn’t it, because… it’s hard to wash the feet of those who don’t like us. It’s, shall we say, very difficult, to love our enemies and do good to those who hate us… the natural response is to fight back, hide from the pain, or protect ourselves from further hurt.
But… his surrender. It means open hands and an open heart to do that which we have no human power to do. And his power is made perfect in weakness. I’m glad of it… all glory belongs to Him. And, there’s no way I can do any of this on my own.
I don’t like the suffering. I suspect most of us don’t.
But I want Jesus. And what is the walk in this world of suffering doing, but to transform me into a soul, a heart, like his… being made ready for a more perfect place… a place of unspeakable beauty… and in the process spreading beauty here on earth, until I make it to that real home of mine.
Heaven is going to be some kind of place… with rest for the soul, perfect joy, infinite communion with the source of Love.
How is the suffering of this present world transforming you? transforming me? Because at the end of the day, we should ask ourselves this: “What will a life magnify? The world’s stress cracks, the grubbiness of a day, all that is wholly wrong and terribly busted? Or God?” — Ann Voskamp
(edited, from the archives)