The Journey Home, Part 2
Where did we leave off last week? I think I was still an anxious and troubled woman who lived in fear of God but couldn’t tell anyone because she was a Director of Women’s Ministry at a church! I knew I longed for something else in my relationship with God, but I had no idea where to start. I turned to a passage of Scripture that had been tugging on my heart for years—the first chapter of the Gospel of John. These words invited me to come and see that my relationship with God could be different: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth…for from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” (John 1:14, 16)
I longed to experience this grace upon grace. I ached to grasp the fullness of Jesus, but I knew I couldn’t do this on my own. I knew that I needed to follow Jesus so that he could make his Father known to me. So, I spent a year studying the Gospel of John. For 450 hours I sat at my kitchen table and listened and watched as Jesus put on flesh and narrated his Father to me.
What I saw was astounding! This was not a fire-and-brimstone angry God! The God that Jesus spoke about was a Father with deep longings, who was stirred up in his innermost being with a aching love for people who behaved more like pirates than children. Jesus narrated a God for me who would move heaven and earth to come down and seek out these prodigals and bring every last one of them home. I saw a Father who searches the horizon looking for his children. When they come home, heads hung in shame, he runs out and covers them with kisses and his best robe. This is a God who is for us, not against us.
By the end of my time in John, I was a completely different woman. I had followed Jesus through an entire ministry and heard him speak over and over again about his love for me. Towards the end of my study, I saw the proof of his love—God’s beloved boy, face dripping in blood, a crown of thorns shoved on his brow, his back torn up from the lashes he received, stumbling under the weight of my sins and his cross. In that moment, I knew. I knew, not just in my head, but in my heart that the Father loved me. He did not spare his boy this incredible pain but gave him up for me. As I watched Jesus hang on his cross, something shifted inside of me, and I knew that I would follow this man anywhere he chose to lead me. For I am his, and he is mine. And from his fullness I have received grace upon grace.
I long for others to know God the way that I have come to know him. I ache for the lost children of God to find the fullness of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Paul later wrote these words: “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” (Rom. 5:5) Paul is saying that every single believer has been flooded with the love of God. That overflowing, poured out love has already been given to every Christian, but not all Christians have accessed it. Not all Christians have experienced it. It is my joy, and my calling, to help others enter into the fullness of the love of God. As I have received from Christ, so I hope to help others know and experience the love of their Heavenly Father, the faithfulness of their older Brother Jesus, and the power and comfort of the Spirit who lives inside of them.
My life is very different than it was 6 years ago. I still struggle with anxiety and fear, but now there is something else there too. The closest I can come to describing it is this: There have been times that I have looked at my children and my heart is so full of love for them, it hurts. That is now how I feel for Jesus. He has poured so much of the fullness of his love in me, it aches. I now obey God, no longer from fear, but from this deep, compelling love. My friend was right—this is quite a testimony to the God who turns fearful slaves into loving children.
If that is something you long for too, please come along with me on this journey. Together, let’s seek the face of Jesus and let him narrate his Father’s heart for us. Let’s learn to love him and others the way he has loved us. Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to search our hearts and reveal the places where we are hiding in fear. Together let’s cry out with David, “You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, Your face, LORD, do I seek.’” (Psalm 27:8) Let’s keep moving on this journey home—to the heart of our Father and find his wide-embracing, loving arms open and ready for us.
Seeking the Father’s face with you,