I know a man, although, to call him that doesn’t quite encompass Him. We can start there though. A man.
I say that I know Him but really, He’s so multi-faceted and grand that I will spend my whole life pursuing Him but find Him to be new yet unchanged each day. I can say that though. I know Him.
My eyes don’t know His face but my heart has felt His smile. I don’t so much know the sound of His voice, the cadence or timbre, but my spirit know it’s tone, rich and big and warm and bright all at once. Like the color purple.
I’ve never felt His skin but His hand has held me more times than I can count. It’s so big and so strong. It carved the mountains after all. I’ve rested there in those hands for years, sometimes smiling, sometimes crying, letting the breeze that blows through the nail holes tickle my cheeks.
I know this man. This Jesus. I’ve grown up hearing His stories. Once He walked on water. Another time, He turned water into wine. He raised people from the dead, made a storm quite it’s tantrum with the sound of his voice, unfurled tangled limbs, fed 5,000 people with a few loaves and fish. He preached, He prayed, He wept.
He came back.
History turns on the axis of his life. And I know Him…
He is so grand that my words can’t fit around Him enough to describe Him. Like a sheet of wrapping paper that is too small for it’s larger than life gift. He is so grand though that I have to try to tell you.
This man that I know is perfect. He is love, fully human and fully God. And He can be known. He wants to be known by you and by me. Have I told you about the first time we met?
I was five years old sitting in chapel at school. We were singing, “There is none like you. No one else can touch my heart like you do. I could search for all eternity long and find there is none like you.” As the song repeated, I felt something I had never known before; someone was there with me. It was Him. His presence filled the room the aroma of cookies baking; sweet, comforting, tantalizing, irresistible.
Judah watching and waiting for cookies to bake. His face personifies the joy of God’s presence.
I was just a little girl but I knew that for all of my days, I wouldn’t search for anything but this man that I had encountered. I knew right then and there that the song was right. There was nothing like Him. I had only lived five years. Not much life especially to definitively make the claim that nothing in this world could compare to Jesus. But I knew. I had met Him.
That’s how big His presence is, how deep His love is, how wide His arms stretch. Big enough to blow everything else out of the water. Large to enough to cast a shadow that will fit everything else this world can offer. Nothing can eclipse Him. And nothing has.
Here we are, 21 years later. I’ve lived a little more. I’ve learned from knowledgeable scholars, laughed at hilarious people, fallen in love with the most amazing husband, given birth to two wonderful children, traveled, shopped, read, watched, sang, danced, lived. But I know Him and none of this compares. Even my most precious people and memories stand happily in His shadow. That’s how big He is.
And I know Him.
I met Him as a little girl. I could spell my name and not much else and was utterly selfish in the way that children are. I was nothing special. Had nothing special. But He introduced Himself to me. He knew that I would disappoint Him, fall short, misunderstand and act selfishly but He sought me out anyway. Because He knew that that shadow that He casts would fit all my mess too.
There’s room for yours. Your mess, your baggage, your sin, whatever you want to call it. God knew that the light of His perfection couldn’t coexist with the ugly truths of this world and our behavior. So, He sent His Son, this man that I’m talking about, to stand where no one else could. He stands tall and perfect, covering our sins with the absoluteness of His shadow. There in the reflection of His grace, it can linger and wilt, like a flower in the shade while light shines all around. He covers it all so that we can step out into the sunlight where He is. So we can know Him.
I know a man. He’s my most intimate friend. He makes me happy. He knows me inside and out, has walked with me through good and bad, and has loved me deeply. Always. Our relationship is not about religion or rules. He can’t be contained by those constructs. It’s about knowing each other and loving each other. I trust Him, so I follow Him. He’s proven himself time and time again. I know this man, this Jesus, and you can too.
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:20 (NIV)
You better get that. It’s for you.
Photo Credit: Scott Lasher