Yesterday when I returned home from school my husband informed me that he had Facetimed with our two-year old grandson. I was immediately jealous, of course, wishing he would have waited until I had gotten home. But when he let me listen to the voice message on his phone I knew why he couldn’t wait.
First my daughter Rachel’s voice, “Pop pop, we called because Isaiah wanted to talk to you.” And then a little voice piped up, “Pop pop, I see your face?” How could he wait to respond to such a heartfelt request?
There are so many times in my life when I long to see the face of Jesus. In the heartbreak of this world, the poverty of the children around me, the violence that threatens to overshadow the good, I cry out to Jesus, “Oh Lord, let me see your face!” And I can be confident that even when I do not physically see the face of Jesus, He is there. When I call out to Him, in His great love for me, He is moved to respond.
I am also aware that in this broken world, many are crying out that same request. They are looking for answers and in need of comfort. It is in those places I must listen closely to the call of the Holy Spirit to be the face of Jesus to them. In this weary world we cannot be like Moses and look upon the face of God on the mountain top. But as believers, we can be the hands and feet and the very face of Jesus to the ones who are struggling. So when they call out in an urgent request, “Lord, I need to see Your face,” we can respond in love and care.
Lord, let me follow closely so I can be the face of Jesus among those who need you most. Help me to use every opportunity to tell the ones around me that You are the love that they seek.
How wonderful life would be if we could resolve our conflicts as quickly as children after a playground tussle. Two little boys, one blonde the other brown-haired, sat together at lunch smiling and laughing, trading stories and cookies. Five minutes into recess they were at my side wailing accusations. Brown-hair said he had been pushed and kicked. Blonde-hair was sporting a goose egg above his eye. Best of friends only minutes earlier were now spewing out conflicting crime scene reports. I listened intently as each one told his version then put on my referee shirt and sent them to opposite ends of the time-out area to cool down. After the proper amount of “refrigeration” we came back together, talked it out, shook hands, forgave and forgot. They ran back out on to the field of play as friends again.
I have to admit that I don’t always handle conflict in my own life quite so well. I wear my referee shirt a little too often letting that innate sense of fairness get in my way. If I get hurt, it is usually because I feel I have been treated unfairly and the road to resolution is blocked by my unwillingness to let it go. I don’t stay mad; I hold onto hurt.
Recently someone I dearly love unintentionally hurt my feelings. It took a day or two but I got over myself and forgave the slight. After all, I told myself, I’m not the kind of person who holds onto grudges. I have always taken seriously the “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against” part of the Lord’s prayer. Still as I prayed the Spirit called me into account. I may have forgiven and given up the anger part of the offense but knew deep down I was still harboring hurt. As long as I allowed that seed of hurt to remain no good fruit was going to grow. It was time for me to live out 1 Corinthians 13:5 as an example of love. Paul writes that love “ does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
It’s hard to ignore that last part- it keeps no record of wrongs. I was fooling myself to think that just because I wasn’t angry any more didn’t mean I wasn’t keeping score. The fact that I was still hurt was evidence to the contrary. The Spirit reminded me that allowing hurt to hold me hostage is a scheme of the enemy.
And so I finally gave it up – all of it this time and managed to break out of my pity-party-prison. I’m not saying it was easy – just necessary. Sometimes putting the key into that prison lock and turning till I hear the click is the hardest thing in the world to do. And yet when I finally summon up the courage to do it I find myself basking in the sunshine again wondering why in the world I waited so long. And then like the little boys in the school yard I can run back onto the playground with a free, unincumbered heart thanking my God for the gift of forgiveness.
Thank-you, Jesus for the extravagent love and forgiveness You have poured out over me. Although I am undeserving, I accept it with a grateful heart. Help me to return that love and forgiveness to the ones around me. I love you, Lord.