2 Corinthians 4:17-18 "For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."
He broke his body?! NO!! They looked at me with eyes shining--it was the first time Ava and Bruik really heard the story of Jesus' sacrefice for us. Last year there just wasn't enough language to understand it all. The three littles had been taking turns sitting on my lap Thursday after lunch in a puddle of strong sunshine-- They had enjoyed changing places on Mommy's lap as we learned that Jesus gave up His place and traded places with us so that we could always "sit" in our Father God's lap. Then they all piled on Mommy's lap to understand that because of Jesus' gift we ALL can sit in God's lap with Jesus His son. We all had laughed as I groaned under their weight--"God's lap is MUCH bigger than yours, Mommy!!" We continued our teaching. Now Bruik clung to me. " Really? He DIED? He BROKE His body? " And then, in horror, "Is He dead?"
Oh, no!! I quickly explained how Jesus rose and is alive with us now but Bruik was unsettled--it took a full day for his heart to be illuminated by the Holy Spirit to understand that Jesus is alive and with us now. He prayed at lunch and at dinner "Please God, don't make Jesus be dead. Let Him live. He was so hurt. He needs to live." Our hearts were humbled as we watched our little boy mourning for Jesus "who must live!" taking the Truth of the events of what Jesus suffered to make us whole. We sat with him and let the Truth break our hearts, and steal our breath away-- considering the power of it all. You can imagine how excited Bruik and Ava were when they realised that Jesus came back to life!! We were ordered to read those pages in our giant Bible story picture book several times. Show me again Mommy!! Wowed hearts. How easily they knelt--how quickly they pressed the picture of the empty tomb to their hearts--as did other children too. Simple hearts--harvest of natural response to Jesus. A dear friend of mine reminded me just the other day to remember to always give the invitation to be a follower of Christ as we share about Him with children--she was sharing this in reference to my upcoming Mission Trip and He was applying it to immediate harvest in our backyard--beautiful.
Later in the weekend, I made a trip to our local grocery store to pick up some "supplies" for a hot dog and smores roast (YUM!). As I was standing in the deli section in front of the potato salad, I ran into one of my buddies. "Gilliagan!--oh its you!!" It was my friend, John. If you are local, John might be your friend as well. John is an employee of this local store and he has been helping us push grocery carts full of grocery runs and my children to my van for the past 11 years. Some would call him "special" or "mentally challenged"--we just call him, John :). He's a dear friend. He remembers my children's names and calls them out. He can accurately guess a child's age--he gets it every time--they love it!! He's never gotten my name down. He calls me, Gilligan--you know, from Gilligan's Island. He never remembers my name BUT he remembers Christ in me. "OOOHHH, it's you." He looks at me piercingly "Yes, yes..OH,OH,OH, I gotta tell you somethin, Gilligan...its " and he will share a whole chapter of scripture or share what he knows is true of God. John is suffering from some sort of challenge that keeps him locked up in himself. My heart suffers to see him wild-eyed at other times speaking at break -speed to himself. He often seems to be figuring out a puzzle, suffering. UNLESS he is talking about Jesus! In those moments--without fail-- EVERY TIME--his haze clears--his eyes become settled,peaceful,clear--there is a wholeness and a peace as he talks LOUDLY with much joy--just ABANDONED to the love of a real Savior. He often speaks of his future when he sees Jesus face to face. He speaks of being healed and whole. He gets so excited over Jesus he jumps up and down and we laugh and praise Him together. I go away with joy--filled by his testimony. In 11 years of being John's friend, I have often ached to see my friend walking through the parking lot pushing carts, stammering and shaking his head to clear the thoughts in there. I have prayed over him, asking for God to release him from his trial. I have never heard him question God or speak with self-pity--just simple joy in the one who holds his awe and his enthusiasm. And out of love for Jesus, and in service too--we always make sure we are in John's line at the grocery conveyeur belt.
In the deli aisle I had seen I saw John pushing this HUGE cart of trash--3 huge clear plastic trash bags stuffed in a grocery cart. I called him over to the potato salad and was greated with "OH,Oh, Gilligan! Oh, great. Now lemmie tell you this great thing about Jesus." I too shared with him --the story I told above about Ava and Bruik-- and when I got to the part of "He broke His body for me" John's eyes grew red and filled with tears. "Yeah, He did." He breathed out in awe and with deep sadness. "He did that for me, Gilligan, and ONE DAY (He starts to clasp his hands--he can hardly stand it) He's gonna come for us. WE ARE GOING TO SEE HIM!! And we are going to be LIKE HIM!!" and he begins to preach about Jesus and Heaven and forever and forgiveness and wholeness--and I just joyed with him, standing in that deli section in front of that potato salad and a pretty miffed deli employee who was really glaring by this point (who cares!--he needs Jesus too!!). John had been spotted by his boss and was being called away but before he got the cart back rolling, I put my hand on his arm and silently prayed for God's anointing to fall on him. "And John, Jesus died so our MINDS would be healed--we are to pray to be 'transformed by the renewing of our minds(in Jesus)'." Well, there was this shaking that came over John and then he burst out--really loudly--"I KNOW!! HE HEALS ME EVERY DAY!! HE RENEWS MY MIND EVERY DAY, Gilligan!!" I was blown away by my "broken" friend's testimony--of how Christ's powerful presence--His blood saves him EVERY DAY. Its how he survives in this world, Christ IS renewing his broken mind every day. Its his ticket to survival--to sanity. The dependence--the reality of his Savior--he gets it. What I saw as brokeness and only suffering is the weakness that brings John to the cross--EVERY DAY. This certainly does not discount the complete and glorious healing that is to come for my friend but in his "weakness he is strong". I walked away so aware that I am just as weak in my own areas that are broken and need of fixing and healing--I have SO many!!-- I too look forward to the day when all is complete but I can go to my Savior daily with my weakness and sin to be given life,forgiveness, passage through each day on Christ's victory forged for me. JOY, HOPE,GLORY -- is Now. Thank you, Jesus!!