Jesus Wept: A love story

The deeper my relationship with Christ gets, the more I appreciate what He’s done and IS doing for me.  This weekend, I was reminded of how there are times, I don’t always respond in a way that is pleasing to Him. It’s interesting because when I mess up, I know it.  If it’s a mistake, I fess up, clean up, and move on.  I take responsibility and understand that mistakes will happen.  Jesus still loves me.

Well, there are other times when, it isn’t so much a mistake that I make; I would categorize it more as negligence.  Admittedly, I am at times negligent to my responsibilities as Christ’s bride.  Times when I get caught up in my own selfish reaction or feelings.  Kind of like Mary and Martha did in John 11, when they lacked faith and blamed Jesus for Lazarus’ death.

Ugh … not an easy thing to admit .. but there are times when perhaps, I react selfishly .. when I feel my needs aren’t being met by a loved one .. or overreact to something that really isn’t that big of a deal .. maybe not watching my tongue because I’m ‘having a bad day’ .. or perhaps even not being careful of what or whom I share with.  Sigh .. there really is no justification for my behavior in those moments.  I’ve literally just given over to my flesh and am creating a mess.  A mess that literally, only Jesus can clean up.  Often, I’m not even aware of the damage I’m doing because I’m too focused on ME.  After reading this particular passage this weekend, I have a better understanding that Jesus really does get upset with us when we do things like this.  It’s something that I have to come to grips with, I’m not always at a place where I am going to be pleasing to my bride-groom.

Oh how I realize my need for Him!  How did Jesus react to the unbelief He encountered?  The Word tells us He was troubled in His spirit and groaned within Himself .. but how He chose to handle it … He Wept.  I can only imagine how it must feel for Him to not have His disciples on the same page.  Here, He spends time loving, healing, sharing, caring, and even letting these ladies in on what He has in store and how do they react?  Disbelief .. lack of faith .. negligent .. completely contrary to what He’s trying to accomplish .. yep .. we do a pretty good job of mucking up His plans.  Yet still, He loves us.

What amazes me …  He doesn’t freak out on Mary, Martha, and the Jews that lacked faith.  He dealt with His spirit by weeping .. showing us how to seek His face in times of trouble or frustration .. then He continued on His path and completed the miracle.  His reaction was nothing but pure love!  He gave Mary and Martha room to grow.  The good news is, He really is all about mercy and grace.

I can’t help but feel that the stories we read are constantly Him talking to His bride trying to get her to see that He really is all about mercy, if she would only look in the mirror and realize just how much room He gives her to grow.  If we could just realize that He would like us to give the same in return, to others.  If we could just realize how much He withholds His wrath from ALL of us because He wants to include ALL of us!  Will He have to draw the line some day?  You bet.  But today, it’s mercy .. it’s grace .. it’s Love.

And even when we don’t ‘get it’ … still, Christ loves us.  He continues to draw, continues to gently correct, continues to withhold His wrath, continues to teach, continues to lead .. continues to love.

If only we truly understood how much He really loves us ..  All of us.  The Bible .. it really is the greatest Love Story ever written.  The best part, you and I both play an important role .. and Jesus is going to show us each how to play our part.  He really is an awesome God!

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Maturing in Christ

My little boy told me the other day … ‘I grew last night, Mom.’  I said, ‘You did?  How do you know?’  His reply, ‘My knees hurt.’  Of course, being the youngest, he’s heard his brother and sister speak of growing pains, so he assumes that the pain he feels is just that .. he grew.  I’ve been feeling that way of late too, only it’s not been my stature, it’s been my spiritual growth.

Unlike my son, I didn’t necessarily recognize that some of the small pains I’ve been experiencing was me growing, but now, just a few short days afterwards, I can honestly say, I feel taller.  I feel as though I’ve grown.

One of the lessons that Jesus has been working on me of late is my responsibility to others.  I’m pretty certain that this is something, like children, that we don’t fully understand until we’ve grown and matured a bit.

I can only speak from my frame of reference; the things I’ve experienced and that have been revealed to me.  However, it seems that Christ has first really taken time to work on me.  As much as I was ready to jump in and help others, truth-be-told, He’s constantly spent most of the time healing my wounds, revealing my insecurities and flaws, and helping me to see where I need growth.  Somehow, despite my driven focus to live and do according to what I think is right, He has slowly and methodically changed my way of thinking.  The best part, He has done it at His pace and in His timing and somehow, it has always come in Love.  Wow!  What an amazing God I serve!

As I mentioned though, as of late, God has been opening my eyes to a new lesson of being responsible towards one another.  It’s easy to look around and see how society and the World, and Christians too, tend to have a ‘I’ll live my life the way I want without regard to others’ attitude.  This attitude doesn’t focus on anyone other than ourselves, but really, it doesn’t change our responsibility towards others.

‘The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.’ Deut 29:29 KJV

I’m so thankful today that God has taken the approach with me that He has.  He has allowed me the room to make some mistakes.  The more I get to know Him, the more I realize that He really does have expectations for us and how we are to live our lives.  I’m certain I haven’t got it all figured out yet, but today, I am most thankful for all the ‘growing pains’ I’ve experienced.  I can honestly look back now and see how each and every trial He has brought me through helped me to gain a better understanding of His love, mercy, and grace.

He really does have a handle on all the things we think we need to know or need to understand but simply don’t yet.  What a blessed assurance I have in Christ!

‘For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.’  1 Phil 1:6 NAS

Like my son, I can honestly say with a big confident grin, ‘Yep.  I grew.’

Praise God!