Saturday, February 21, 2015

February 21st

Written on May 28, 2013

Last night, I was with Jesus and His sorrow and pain were so great that He dropped to His knees on the floor.

I didn't know what to do; I looked and looked again, wondering if I was seeing correctly. I threw my arms around His shoulders and held Him close.

A deeper meaning, a new emotional understanding of what it means to endure all things, hope all things, believe all things, was being carved into me by His grief and pain that I felt resonating through Him.

"This is so cruel," I whispered in amazement. "This is wrong. How can this be? Haven't You suffered enough? How can it be that You should continue to suffer? Someone should put a stop to this immediately! Why is this allowed to continue?"

But Jesus did not answer and He did not stand up.

“How can the Father allow this?" I asked. "If You must continue to be in pain even now, then why are You alone? Where are the ministering angels? This is outrageous!”

The experience was so overwhelming that I wanted to turn away from it. I wanted to escape the emotional knowledge and refuse to believe it, but I couldn’t leave Jesus alone, so I remained with Him, trying to adjust myself to this new understanding.

When I was younger, I assumed Jesus was up in heaven, untouchable and remote, looking down at us from a great distance, and even lately, I assumed that He might not be remote, exactly, but that He was out of the reach of the brokenness here, but I was wrong on both accounts. Jesus is not apart from us in our suffering- He doesn’t hold Himself aloof from it.

And yet! Love never gives up hope- hopes all things! To feel the worst and yet to have hope and to have perfect faith in Abba’s plan and to love completely, absolutely right now- how could a heart other than God's suffer this rending? No one but God could endure this.

Then I remembered, with incredible relief, the next line of that passage, and I whispered it to Him, over and over again:

"Love never fails," I whispered. "Love never fails. You have done it. It is done."

The truth of this comforted us both. It's not that He ever forgets this; it's that He feels everything! It's terrible.

August 3, 2013

I was looking at Jesus, because I was seeing His entire face with such heart stopping clearly.

(Here I must stop and make a note, because I do not want to be misleading- I have never been in the physical presence of Jesus. I have only ever seen Jesus in a spiritual way. I do not know what He literally looks like; this is how He appears to me.)

I do love when I see His face half turned away, a slight smile on His face, His eyes down turned, the creases at the corners of His eyes and the curve of His smile and His weathered skin. His amber brown eyes are full of light and warmth when He looks up, so often full of teasing humor, and when He laughs, His teeth are white against His dark beard.

I was seeing this and awe filled me. I thought, my God! I am looking at Jesus- Jesus that walked the earth, that had a ministry in Judea and Galilee, Jesus who was crucified, who multiplied the loaves and fishes- I am looking at Him.

I threw myself down face first, in worship and adoration and delight and gratitude and He bent tenderly down over me and He said, Jenny.

He wanted me to sit up, but for a moment, I just wanted to lie there, abandoning myself in worship and gratitude to Him, to that moment, to the entire experience, the whole thing.

Then He gently pulled me up and I came up willingly and looked at Him again and again, love and wonder washed over me like a tide that rushed in and in response, adoration of Him rushed out of my open heart.

When my heart became quiet again, I remembered a request. This request had been coming up in me for some time, but I hadn't known how to put it in to words or dared to ask it, but now it rose up in me and I had to try.

“I want something…” I said to Jesus, hesitantly.


What do you want? Tell me, He replied, and I remembered how Jesus is often asking people to tell Him what they want.

“I want to know You better, I want to see You more clearly in the Gospels,” I admitted- because I realized that’s what I wanted- I wanted to take the way I knew Him in such a living and personal way just then, with me into the Gospels and thereby see even more deeply into His heart, to understand Him better.

Jesus smiled; this smile spread across His face and lit up in His dancing, teasing eyes.

Is it there that you want to see Me even more clearly? He asked, referring back to the fact that already, I had asked that- several times, in fact, over the years and He has answered that request, so that my understanding and perception of Him has grown in depth.

You don’t want to know Me, risen, transfigured and glorified, better? Jesus asked, drawing my mind back to His transfigured self, speaking with such tender good humor. It was as though it filled Him with such overflowing love, delight and humor that I still wanted to know His life on earth.

“I want to know You better in all that You are,” I admitted. “In the Gospels and in the world and as You are now. But I love Your human story.”

I was looking into His face, so clearly seen before me, and as I was looking at Jesus, it was as if I was seeing  two things- His face as He was before me with His eyes opening into defenseless love, and through this sight, or beyond it, I was seeing into the stories that I knew so well and the first story that opened in this way was Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.

Looking at Him, I saw Him kneeling at the feet of the apostles and begin to wash their feet, looking up into their face and as I saw this, I felt His love for them welling up in Him and it was shocking, how specific and personal His love was for each one of those men- Jesus knew them exactly as they were, their specific personality, character, life history and He loved them, with this love that is beyond words.

Each one of those men, as He washed their feet, He loved with this kind of exact, personal, specific love that had no end and no way to measure it. He had no shortage of love and He did not withhold any love and it was so tender and so personal to them, as Jesus saw them, as they were- those men that were His, who had a specific and very important purpose in His plan, in His gathering of the called out, that He had called by name, to follow Him. Jesus had taught them and guided them and kept them, for three years, through all kinds of intense experiences and knowing their misunderstandings and mistakes and hopes and fears and wordless longings, all of this that He cared about so deeply, loving them.

As I was feeling this wordless understanding of His intense love for those men, I was looking at His face in the inner room. I saw tears well up in His eyes and trickle down His face, and my heart broke open and then there was this rush of things which poured into me.

I saw His Passion, but from a great distance, because I wasn’t strong enough to bear it with Him just then, except for a moment with Him in the garden, when He fell to His knees and then I saw the crowds.

As I saw the crowds that pressed in on Jesus on every side, I was overwhelmed with this anguish within Jesus- the anguish that He could not heal them all. This anguish of Jesus that I experienced that day I wondered about for some time, because it says in the Gospels that Jesus healed all that came to Him.

It was only lately, as I was preparing to post this, that Jesus helped me understand that the crowds I was seeing were not only those people that were there in that time and place with Him, but all of us- His beloved children, created in His own image, that were suffering and maimed and blind and imprisoned by sin and death.

When Jesus turned His face so resolutely toward Jerusalem and the terrible baptism of His Passion, this deep, abiding love and burning desire was with Him in every step.

Jesus leaned forward and caught me up in His arms and He was sobbing. This grief was too great for me to comfort-  I did not know how to comfort Jesus this time, for this grief of His that was pouring through me, even after the many times He has shared some small part of His sorrow with me.

And there was this grief at the loss of Joseph, which was astonishing to me! It’s not in the Scriptures, what happened to Joseph, or Jesus’ relationship to Him, but it seemed, as I was holding Jesus in my arms, that Joseph must have died, and how the loss of him- who must have loved Jesus and been such a strong support to Him, hit Jesus so hard.

And mixed in with the aching grief of this huge, gaping loss in Jesus’ personal life was the pain of His relationship to His brothers, who didn’t understand Him and were dismissive of Him and considered Him crazy and were embarrassed by Him.

And it hurt Him! He wasn’t immune to this pain of rejection, even within His human family and this rejection was mixed in and layered over with deeper and greater circles of rejection which followed out from Him wherever He went and whatever He did.

And then I saw Jesus standing, lifting His arms to heaven and crying out, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that had been done in you had been done in Tyre or Sidon, they would have repented long ago in dust and ashes,” and as He was crying this out, tears were pouring down His face, with this kind of broken hearted, aching grief that hurt Him, that shuddering through Him in aching pain.

And I saw Him stretch out His arms to Jerusalem and cry out how many times He had wanted to gather up her children as a hen gathers up her chicks under her wings, but you would not! He cried, and this echoed all through my spirit.

This cry was as though it were wrenched right from the depths of His broken heart. He lifted His head from my shoulder. His face was lined with grief and His entire face was wet with tears, His eyes rimmed with red. I tried to wipe the tears away, but more kept pouring down across His cheeks and into His beard.

And I saw Jesus carrying His cross through the streets of Jerusalem, His body already broken and bleeding out, hardly able to bear the weight of the instrument of His own death, so that they made someone else carry it, and passing by the women of Jerusalem, who were weeping and wailing and I saw how He turned to them, and He was crying with them!

There He was, having suffered physical torture and humiliation and walking right into the heart of it, whipped along the way and His heart was torn open in grief, not for Himself or what He was going through, but for them!

“Don’t weep for Me,” He said to them, with tears streaming down His face, “but for yourselves."

Jesus' longing and grief for us- the intense longing that we come to Him for healing and life and direction, and how His heart is torn open in suffering when we suffer, even when we do not come to Him- especially when we do not- this reverberated through me in the strongest way and I didn’t have any words, my spirit was so shaken by the intensity of His grief.

Jesus sat up, and He took my shoulders in His hands, His wet face grave and firmly resolute and He said, But it will be made right.

I knew He meant put upright, made whole, healed, and I remembered, like a flash, that bit of Scripture about how she will not remember her shame any more, nor bring it to mind (Isaiah 54:4-14) And I leaned forward in such relief and threw my arms around His shoulders and whispered fiercely, “It will be made right, Sweetheart, it will be made right. It will be.”

For a moment, I tried to steady myself a little, after all that emotion had poured through me and then I looked at His face, calmer now but still showing signs of grief, and I wanted to know more- to see more of those stories from the inside out.

As I thought this, or felt my spirit reach out for it, because of the beauty of His face, because He is Jesus and I can’t seem to get enough of Him- and this kind of tender, loving joy broke all through His face and He burst into laughter, but almost still tearful, because the tail end of the grief that was still easing from Him- His eyes were still wet from tears and yet He was laughing, and He said to me, Will you never have enough of Me?

“No, I’ll always want more of You,” I told Him, seriously- because it seemed almost like a confession. “I can’t help it. I always want more of You.”

And I remembered Jesus turning the water into wine, and wondered about that, and He said to me, His voice rich with laughter, That was a very good day.

In all their affliction He was afflicted,
And the Angel of His Presence saved them;
In His love and in His pity He redeemed them;
And He bore them and carried them
All the days of old.

-Isaiah 63:9

Meanwhile Saul, still breathing out threats to murder the Lord’s disciples, went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, either men or women, he could bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he was going along, approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.

He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”

So he said, “Who are you, Lord?”

He replied, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting! But stand up and enter the city and you will be told what you must do."

-Acts 9:1-6, NET

Eternal One:
  Now look here!
        I am creating new heavens and a new earth.
    The weary and painful past will be as if it never happened.
        No one will talk or even think about it anymore.

    So take joy and celebrate with unending gladness
        on account of what I am creating.
    Look carefully! I am making this place I’ve chosen, this Jerusalem, a city of joy.
        I’m making her citizens, My people, a people of gladness.
     This Jerusalem, My pride and joy, and her people will be a delight to Me.
        Though you listen at every corner,
    You will never hear crying, never hear despair or grief.

     Never again will a person not live a full life,
        for the young will live to be a hundred
    And any who die earlier will be considered cursed.
     People will confidently build houses and make them their homes;
        they will plant vineyards and enjoy their fruit for years to come.
     They won’t worry that someone else will come along, drive them out,
        and take it all away.
    For My people will live as long as these age-old trees;
        My chosen will use up and wear out whatever they make.
     They will not work hard for what others take away;
        they will not lose children to sudden terror and death.
    For they are the offspring of those blessed by the Eternal;
        they and their descendants will enjoy God’s blessings.
     I’ll anticipate their prayers and respond before they know it;
        even as they speak, I will hear.
     But they’ll all eat together like friends—wolf and lamb, lion and ox,
        and the biting snake will feed on dust.
    When that day arrives, there will be no evil, no violence, no hurt or wrong
        in all My sacred mountain.

Isaiah 65:17-25, Voice