This post has been written for Bonnie Gray’s #OneWordLent, based on the words “His own” from the following Scripture:
“Jesus knew that the time had come
for him to leave this world
and go back to the Father.
Having loved His own who were in the world,
He loved them to the end.“
~ John 13:1
In John 13: 1, Jesus talks of His great love for “His own”, whom He must leave behind on earth, shortly before He washes His disciples’ feet. These past ten days of fasting, these words have taken on a new meaning for me. In them, I see a deep, abiding love for us, His children. For if we are “His own”, we are both His family and His to keep. It speaks of both a familial tenderness and a protective responsibility: a chord of love that can never be broken.
Fasting these past ten days, took me to a place that hurt. A place I didn’t want to go. It took me back to awful memories of my mother’s last weeks and to my old insecurities of feeling like I was not good enough for God. As grief took hold of and broke my heart, fear fed me lies of insufficiency and eternal brokenness. My human mind leant to numb and keep going, while my body shook and crumbled beneath a weight it was not designed to carry. I screamed at Him: “Is this what you want? Is this really what you want?” As if it was Him, who had saddled the weight upon my shoulders.
And then, I heard Him say: “Remember what I told the woman at the well. That time has now come, the time for people to worship Me as themselves, truly as themselves. Are you strong? Are you fearless? Are you unwaveringly self-confident? Are you invincible to the cutting knife of grief and trauma? Are you the one whose job it is to open blinded eyes to see? Is it you, I have called to a life of weariness, crushed by the weight of a sinful world?”
And as my body shook from traumatized grief and trembled in its famished weakness, I saw the lies of fear and grief for what they were: a weight I am not called to carry, but to release at His feet. “Fear not,” He says, “for I have called you by name. You are mine and I am yours, now and forevermore. Your name is inscribed upon the palm of My hand, each day to be lived in My Book of Life, each tear shed has been and will be collected in My bottle. Yes, there have been many tears and no, the last has not been shed. But look and you will see Me holding you, hiding you in My quiver, My mighty wings shielding and protecting you. You are not and will never be alone. For can a mother forget the infant at her breast, or walk away from the baby she bore? And even if she does, I never, ever will. Just as I never did your mother, who rests here safely in My Presence even now, whole and complete. Be yourself, not a more perfect, a more capable, a ‘stronger’ you. Be who I have created you to be: my very own” (Isaiah 49).
And, so I leant back into that quiver, under those mighty wings, into my Father’s arms, as myself: His broken, shaking, trembling, doubting, angry child. Loved before, loved now, and through His sacrificial love, embraced into glorious eternal righteousness, as: His own.