01 January 2017

New Year

I'm not quite sure how I ended up begging God for there to be another way to him besides Jesus' death, but here we are. Before you grab your torches and yell HERETIC!, let me explain.

I really, really hate hurting the people I love. It has been the single hardest thing about parenting for me. It's some specific form of perfectionism (if you've ever walked into my house, or spent any time with me, you know I'm not much of one in other areas). I will never be totally loving toward the people I hold most dear, and it breaks my heart completely. I hate it.

And this is Jesus we're talking about here. What I mean to say is, if you know Jesus, you know he's the best person you've ever met. And I just really, really hate that he died for me. It's so painful to know my sins were on his shoulders. Even as I hear the Spirit's voice telling me Jesus wasn't forced or coerced, that he came to Earth as The Rescuer, it's still hard to accept that I added to his burden in any way.

I wonder if this is why I've been struggling for so long: I'm not fully accepting my own salvation. I've been mired in guilt at my role in the crucifixion. How can I receive from him when I feel so bad about what I've done to him?

I'm glad the Lord opened this door in my heart. I certainly didn't have the insight to know what was going on. God gave me this passage to think on for this year:

Even the wilderness and desert will be glad in those days.
The wasteland will rejoice and blossom with spring crocuses.

Yes, there will be an abundance of flowers
and singing and joy!
The deserts will become as green as the mountains of Lebanon,
as lovely as Mount Carmel or the plain of Sharon.
There the LORD will display his glory,
the splendor of our God.

With this news, strengthen those who have tired hands,
and encourage those who have weak knees.
Say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, and do not fear,
for your God is coming to destroy your enemies.
He is coming to save you.”

And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind
and unplug the ears of the deaf.
The lame will leap like a deer,
and those who cannot speak will sing for joy!
Springs will gush forth in the wilderness,
and streams will water the wasteland.

The parched ground will become a pool,
and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land.
Marsh grass and reeds and rushes will flourish
where desert jackals once lived.

And a great road will go through that once deserted land.
It will be named the Highway of Holiness.
Evil-minded people will never travel on it.
It will be only for those who walk in God’s ways;
fools will never walk there.

Lions will not lurk along its course,
nor any other ferocious beasts.
There will be no other dangers.
Only the redeemed will walk on it.

Those who have been ransomed by the LORD will return.
They will enter Jerusalem singing,
crowned with everlasting joy.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear,
and they will be filled with joy and gladness.

And I believe it. I believe God will do what he's always done to me -- make me more like himself. I don't understand why he loves me, but I know that he does, and he will continue to make springs in this desert, and lead me on.

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