I’m on a walk. It’s one of those nights you feel alone…when hurts, disappointments and failures haunt your thoughts. I feel myself closing down.
The door is shut.
I hear a rap, two raps…three. He’s standing there, knocking.
I hesitantly let Him in.
“I’m sorry about the mess. I’ve been meaning to tidy.” My voice cracks, and I hear myself repeat, “I’ve been meaning to tidy.”
I look around and gesture to the disorganization. “I can’t seem to fix this.” I sound like I’ve given up.
“It’s enough that I’m here.” He says.
I’m frustrated, “Don’t tell me that. I’ve prayed about this, I’ve given this to you a dozen times…and nothing has changed.” I think about my inability to conjure up any fake emotions…or “choose joy”…my efforts feel false, I taste failure, and I’m tired of trying.
“It’s enough that I’m here,” he repeats.
That’s all He is going to say! The inward struggle IS real. Bitter even. “How is that enough!?,” I say. “What does that even look like? God, I’ve invited You into this countless times…I have included You in all of this. You’re the first place I go.”
My mind replays memories. I see myself approaching God before the storm. I see myself crying and praying before Him afterwards. I’ve included Him…poured out my heart before Him (Psalm 62:8). What have I missed?
A shadowy image bursts up before me like a pop-up book. I see the storm itself. I’m alone. I’m defending myself, lashing against hurt, standing on my moral high ground because not fighting makes me feel dishonest to myself. Myself.
I am fighting to protect myself. Well, someone’s got to do it.
But now…in my mind, I just hear the word “my”, “my”, “my”, “my…myself”. It’s echoing over and over, like when you yell into a canyon, the words bouncing off the walls redundantly.
I feel tears burning in the corner of my eyes. A gasp slips out of my mouth, as the truth suddenly dawns on me.
He is there before, He is there after…but where is He during?
Like Peter, with good intentions and a heart in a posture of faith, my eyes were fixed on Jesus as I took my first step onto the waves. After…like Peter, I’d climb back into the boat acknowledging Jesus as the only One who could save me.
But, also like Peter, in the middle of the storm I lose myself in cold hard facts, a reality of the waves being too high and the water too deep…that nothing can be fixed. I zone in on the problem and my footing is gone. My pride stings and desperate self-preservation kicks in. I fight for myself as I fill my lungs with salty water.
Where are You?
Now I see a picture of my heart. The chair in the middle of room is occupied. I am there. I am quiet. I am comfortable. And I am fighting to stay on my throne.
“You don’t have a place to sit,” I abruptly notice.
I am realizing. I take my eyes off of Christ the moment I need Him most…during the storm. The moment I start fighting for myself. Myself.
A flash of another Bible story blazes before me. I see Jesus standing before an earthly jury of opinions and judgements. He doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t defend His good name, His good intentions, or the truth that He has the best heart in the world. He didn’t fight for Himself when He needed it most.
That’s because He was fighting for me. Because someone’s got to do it.
“It’s enough that I am here.”
I think this is the third time He’s said that. The stretched skin covering my heart is slipping off.
It’s sinking in. I’ve been walking a while now and I’m almost home. I kneel on the dry grass, one ear plugged into Hillsong’s “Captain” song. I feel my defenses slowly tumbling down, like a burden sliding off my shoulders.
“Can we just have a funeral for me now?” I say with half a smile. I want “myself” to die. I’m tired. Tired of fighting for a cause that has no point. When I fight…I sink.
I see an image of Jesus grabbing my hand, pulling me out of the deep, and hear that sweet, reassuring voice again, “It’s enough that I’m here.” I guess I need to hear it over and over. It’s not said in a tone of rebuke. Jesus knows our feeble frame and He is a compassionate Saviour.
He already fought for my heart…and He’s still here, ready to fight my every day battles. Ready to haul me out of the water.
Although, I’m certain we’d both enjoy the sweetness of dancing in storms together more than the reoccurring rescues.
I confess. I tell Him I want my “self” to be dead. I claim the blood of Saviour, the risen Christ, and thank Him for fighting for me. I tell Him I want to be raised WITH Him (Romans 6, Colossians 3:1) and come alive.
Hmmm, that phrase punched me hard. “Come alive”. I laugh out loud. That is what this about.
A dear mentor had given me that “word” for this phase of life. Until now, I didn’t know what that looked like. I feel like a puzzle piece has snapped into its place, letting me view a little more of the picture.
I am given NEW LIFE in Christ, through completely surrendering “myself” and allowing Him to fight for me. In the midst of my mess…my storm…He will be there. Like a girl gushing over her lover, I’m reminded that when He is with me…He makes me feel ALIVE (Psalm 16:9-11)!
I don’t think the storms stop. I don’t think all the problems go away…but He’s promised to “never leave us or forsake us” (Hebrews 13:5). However, I do believe that when we take over the throne room (for me, it’s in the middle of a mess), we push Him out. Jesus is the sweetest gentleman and He respects our choices, but He never completely leaves. He just stands outside the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20).
I let Him in…because I know…it’s enough to know that He’s here.
Thanks to my nephew Daniel for taking the last two photos. We had a photography lesson together that day, and I’m so blessed by his very special heart to help people and his insatiable curiosity. Daniel is 6.