With my eyes gazing out the foggy window of a fast-moving London bound taxi, I was overwhelmed by the goodness of the Lord.
Twenty years ago my marriage to Simon began, and nineteen years ago we looked like another divorce statistic in the making. But now, with Simon in the front passenger seat talking to the driver of his homeland in a taxi bound for London, an old song cued up in my ears. I was transported back to a time when my heart was continually a mess–a smattering of shattered soul pieces left on the floor from men who I hoped would love me. I lived with a heart seeking life support from the cravings of the world, looking for people who could make me feel special for a fleeting moment. First my dad, then boyfriend after boyfriend in succession. What I really longed for was a real resting place, a family home. A place where I would be free to be myself, where I knew I was entirely chosen, endlessly wanted, enormously loved, and educated in the truth about what love does regardless of how one feels.
The cravings of this earth are a set up for us to look towards heaven where all good things come from and will return.
The thing that keeps me on my knees filled with awe and wonder is this: when I wasn’t looking for Jesus, Jesus had His eyes set on me. When all I could see was my unsatisfied reflection in a mirror, heading out the door for another first date, Jesus had eyes fixed on me. He was waiting for the day I would become His bride, forsaking all others.
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” -Hebrews 12:2, The Message
It always brings my spinning, self-centered, chaotic world to a halt when I stop to think that Jesus saw the cross and didn’t stop at the pain that awaited Him. He had superpower x-ray vision, vision that saw past momentary pain to arrive at the place of eternal joy. Instead of a shameful wooden torture device, Jesus saw a freedom tunnel home – a humble and hidden road home to the heart of His Father. A resting place for you and for me.
He came for you.
He came for me.
His eyes on the joy of us being free.
Let us always look to Jesus by seeing past our pain to the joy that is set before us–a life we live as people loved by a good, good God who overcomes all pain.
When I look at my life now, it seems like a fairy-tale—rags to riches, rejected to found. But let the record show, I didn’t wish and just pray myself into this life I now live. Faith without action is a dead faith. The Holy Spirit helped me, like Jesus, to see past the pain to the joy of a family table set for me.
I have learned to contend with hell so goodness could fight for me. The days I didn’t think my family would make it were too many to count. In the midst of those days when I could not see it, my heart was getting bigger. Tears and utterances of a weary soul are the fertilizer for a heart that is coming alive. When I didn’t feel like believing, I submitted my flesh to the Word of God. Even when my broken heart fed me lies, telling me that God wasn’t trustworthy, and unrenewed places in my mind tried to grasp for immediate relief, God kept me upright and breathing.
Take it from me, a woman who is overcoming: it serves us well to keep our eyes set on the cross. It is as we gaze at the cross that our flesh will be soothed into submission by the Spirit, who has called us out of darkness and into the light of God– our Husband and our Maker.
The adventure of knowing love that is willing to suffer for the sake of the joy of another is now my full-time job.
I hear the tender voice of my God saying “Thank you for never giving up, for letting me take all your hurts and turn them into a testimony of my faithfulness and goodness. Through you, my bride, I am birthing the family of my dreams, a people who are the resting place for my heart.”
Devoting my heart to God, first and most, was the best brokenhearted decision I ever made. My feeble “yes” has brought me to this resting place, into a family of people who are not perfect, but willing. Willing to step into the fire of God’s refining fire and redeeming love. There is pain, but joy always comes in the morning for those who endure.