I write tonight not from a place of lofty teaching, great knowledge, or superior insight or experience of life. However, I write from an honest attempt of conveying a word that I think is important for many of us to hear, including myself.
(Humility can not really be conveyed well through written word, but I hope that you will know it is not in any sense of pride that I am writing this blog.) So often when people hear my story, and see the intimacy that I have with Jesus, I am asked how they can attain the same. I have found myself responding with the truth that people must invest time and be intentional to develop a relationship with God; where as sheep we get to know our Shepherd’s voice. As a dear brother of mine, Dwight Roberston, has so adequately put it; “The greatest gift that you have to offer this world is your intimacy with God.” This great intimacy was demonstrated for us by Jesus Christ Himself, as He often pulled away from the crowds, and even the disciples, to be in relationship with God the Father. It required for Him to be intentional and to work at the relationship.
Now in today’s world it seems that we are motivated to be entertained, to be pleasured, to be self-absorbed and self-centered. (I said we, because I am far from free from this challenge myself!) When we think of the word intimacy, it seems that our world often has changed for this word to carry a connotation of sexual gratification. Intimacy actually in it’s fullness is an act of drawing nearer to and increasing one’s experience and knowledge of something or someone else (Jesse’s Free Personal Dictionary).
Intimacy requires work; which we do not want to hear in today’s world. We want what is easy, free, and most profitable for us with the least amount of investment required. It is this work though, this pursuit of closeness to God, that I have been intentionally walking in for nearly 25 years now. (I knew Jesus as my Savior for ~8 years before knowing Him truly as my Lord!) To develop such intimacy, I look to Jesus as my model.
I am often humbled and challenged by the great surrender and servitude of Jesus; especially as He was in the Garden of Gethsemane weeping tears of blood as He cried out to God the Father. Though He knew of the coming pain and torture beyond what any other human has ever experienced, I believe that His tears were not from the anticipated pain but because He wanted to be fully surrendered to the timing, will, and purposes of God. It was hard work, not impossible but hard work, for Jesus to say to the Father, “Not my will, but Your will be done!” Its been hard work for me as well, with lots of tears (though never of blood, nor to such sacrifice nor surrender as Jesus Christ gave), but its been beautiful. From this investment in time and intimacy with the Savior of the world I have continually had experiences of the Holy Spirit moving within me to stir my soul and set my heart and life more and more on fire for the glory of God. This past Sunday was such an experience.
As I was attending my home church here in Guatemala with some of my friends, I sat listening to a great message the pastor was preaching. As the pastor was focused on the passage of Scripture, John 11:1-44 (to the effect of ‘when God makes us wait’), my soul was stirred and God was moving in me through the Holy Spirit. While Jesus knew that He would be raising Lazarus from the dead, He intentionally waited to go to the tomb. In this time of waiting, as He walked along with people He deeply loved, Jesus, God Almighty Himself, saw the grief of those He loved, and though He knew the final outcome would be resurrection and life… Jesus wept! Jesus WEPT! He knew that He would be raising Lazarus from the dead! He knew the triumph and victory that was coming! However, He allowed Himself to enter deeply into the moment beforehand, and with the loved ones around Him who were grieving. Jesus entered their pain! Jesus wept!
While the weeping of Jesus was not the pastor’s point of the message, it was definitely God’s point to me, and maybe is also for you as well! God asked me if I will continue my work for Him with a different position and mindset. I tend to focus on the positive truth that God will bring about His good will. God was asking me though to not always look to the future, to the resurrection, but to be present with those around me, in their challenges, burdens, and struggles. Jesus led me in a time of weeping for children, whom He also weeps for. He led me in a time of weeping for families that are too poor, to broken, too addicted to be healthy and whole. Jesus, this past Sunday, asked me if I will weep with Him for these children that He so loves, for these families that He so loves. And this weekend I made an intentional choice that I will weep with Jesus, and I will weep with those around me… being present in the realities and challenges of life, though never despairing of the hope and truth that Jesus Christ offers.
What about you? Will you weep with Jesus? He doesn’t call all of us to be working with children who are orphaned, abandoned, and/or homeless in Latin America. Are there people around you whom Jesus is inviting you to love, live with, and weep with? I know this, though He calls me to weep with those around me, He reminds me that this weeping will lead to victory, His victory, just as it did at the tomb of Lazarus. Let us choose to be present with those in need around us. If there is laughter, join in. If there is success, celebrate. If there are challenges, fight through them with others. But when there are tears, let us weep with those weeping, as Jesus wept with His loved ones; for when we weep with others I believe we weep with Jesus!