Life is better here today, less fraught with crisis. One would expect, therefore, that I'd be more calm as well. But 'one' would be wrong. I've been a mess today. A living, breathing, falling-apart mess. I had to stop by Beve's office to give him something and when I walked in, he was having lunch in the conference room with his counseling colleagues. They were happy to move around the table and make room for me, and I certainly enjoy all of them a lot most days. But this isn't most days. No, today I took one look at them sitting there laughing, and couldn't stand it. I mean, Beve has people, people to yuck it up with even in the middle of all this--or that's how it felt in that moment.
Instead, I walked into his office and fell apart. And poor Beve, who'd gone to the trouble of actually buying me lunch when he'd bought his own, couldn't quite figure out what was wrong with me, why I didn't want to talk about it, or to them. To him it like we were those young married kids we used to be--and I'd get so upset that he couldn't figure out why I was upset. And he had no earthly idea.
These days--this week--he understands a whole lot better. He knows me, knows the strain we're under, knows how much this season has taken its toll on us. When we finally had a conversation about it hours later, we both acknowledged that we're so exhausted from the latest crisis we hardly know how to think, but I'm such a mass of emotions that I feel everything, while he's so much more rational that he simply shuts it off. And we just have to press on with all the other things going on.
But what finally came to me this evening is that I need to ground myself in the person of Jesus Christ. That is, I've been very much a supplicant of late, asking Him to DO for me. But it's of prime importance that I remember who He is; indeed, I must pay attention to HIM for Himself for this season. If I forget, I'm in danger of seeing Him as a giant slot machine in whom I put in my nickel of faith so that He'll pour out the jackpot of my desired outcome. And that is the one thing true Christian faith cannot be. Our adherence is to a PERSON, not to an idea, a result or anything for ourselves. It's only--always--about being in relationship with Him, no matter what comes into our lives. This hits home as clearly as anything in difficulties. It's because of who He is that I love Him. So I must re-orient myself to that more especially now than ever. As I said, no matter what.
So...who is HE? And what does it mean to me, who already knows and loves Him? Frankly, there's only one place to go to really do this re-grounding necessary. The gospel of John.
One of the reasons I love the gospel of John is because that's where we hear Jesus speak directly about Himself. Even when He does miracles He does so in order to tell people who He is. And, amazingly, He describes Himself much like we do when we're asked, in large groups, to describe ourselves. "I'm creative," I might say. Or, "I am not very good at math." However, the LARGE distinction between our self-descriptions and Jesus' are that His aren't simply character traits but are so radical that they transform the world. There are seven such statements, of which Eugene Peterson says " [they] crash the boundaries of death and summon all to a resurrection." Seven times in the gospel of John, Jesus gives us amazing insights into Himself--and each time, that insight not only has to do with who He is TO US, but has the power to change us.
And this is what I most need to be reminded at this moment. There are implications of those powerful seven statements, those glorious, life-altering "I AM's" of Jesus for how I live in this critical moment, and for how we conduct all our dealings in the most lovely (and dreamed of!) ordinary of our days. So for the next seven days (give or take), I'll be looking at the seven "I AM's--the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, The Gate for the Sheep, The Good Shepherd, The Resurrection and the Life, TheWay and the Truth and the Life, The True Vine."
My prayer--for myself and for you--is that we will see Jesus in a renewed light, and not merely what He has done, but who He is will empower you to serve Him.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with endurance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning the shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1-2