Three Days​

Notre Dame, as it stood just days ago, was a lot of things. It was an important historical landmark, an architectural gem, and a bucket list item for tourist to visit. The fire that destroyed a large portion of Notre Dame is unfortunate, but can I keep it real with you? I struggled internally with the external response of the world. I was bothered by the grief we will express when it comes to a building but the lack of action when it comes to fighting for others who are made in the image of God. I was frustrated that we would care so much about something temporary and care so little about things that impact eternity.

I genuinely had to check my heart with Jesus about this. And then Jesus showed me a little bit of truth. He reminded me that Notre Dame became a lot of things, but it started as a place of worship. It was a place of pilgrimage and prayer. A place for God’s people to gather and to meet with Him. For thousands, it was the only place they felt like they could encounter the presence of God. It mattered in their relationship with Him.

My frustration came on quickly, but as I sat with the Lord, and remembered what things have similar value to me, it produced compassion in me. For me, it’s not a building that I value, but my Bible. I’ve cried hours over having to give a Bible away. I genuinely grieved the loss. Not because there was something magical about my specific Bible. In the physical, it is just words on paper. My Bible mattered to me because it’s a way God has revealed Himself to me. It’s the item I run to when I need truth, peace, hope, and comfort. It’s a place where I know God is going to speak to me. In the spiritual, my bible is a supernatural tool that helps me access and enter into the presence of God. It’s an altar that reminds of all that Jesus and I have journeyed through. Just as Notre Dame to some is just a building, to those who go to worship there, it’s been the place they have access to God. So just as I grieve my Bible when I no longer possess it, I now understand why others grieve a place where they’ve gathered to worship.

As God was working out my frustration and turning it into compassion, He reminded me of another truth which feels timely as we approach Easter. Jesus said in John 2:19 that they could destroy the temple, but He would raise it again in three days. Now the onlookers and disciples thought Jesus was talking about a place of worship. The place where God’s presence dwelt. The disciples even discussed how magnificent the temple was, just as onlookers were doing the morning of the fire at Notre Dame. Jesus was mocked for saying that the temple would be rebuilt in three days. They thought it was impossible for Jesus, a man, to rebuild something that took hundreds of years to build in the first place.

But Jesus wasn’t talking about a physical building. He wasn’t talking about the place where God’s people made sacrifices, worshiped, and learned. He was talking about Himself. He was the dwelling place of the almighty God. He was the temple that would be destroyed. On Friday the disciples grieved the loss of their Savior. The Savior that they expected to rescue them from their oppression, from their ordinary lives, and their enemy. Jesus became their access to truth, peace, hope, and comfort. And with the destruction of the temple as they knew it, they grieved their access to God. They mourned the loss of their friend, their king, and their future and for the next few days, they would sit in that grief.

But Jesus was not playing around when He said the temple would be restored in three days. On Sunday the disciples celebrated because the one who carried the presence of God was resurrected. The temple was rebuilt. Their access to the creator of the universe restored. Sunday brought victory. Sunday brought back access to truth, peace, hope, and comfort. Sunday brought redemption. Not just for the disciples, but also us. Because Jesus paid our debt on the cross, and then defeated death, we have right standing with God. Full access to Him in any place at any time. In a church or on a street corner. In a home or in a hospital. In a dorm room or in your car. It does not matter. On Friday we will grieve what happened to our Savior so that we could be given right standing, but on Sunday we will celebrate that The Temple is risen and now we get to commune without barrier or hindrance with the presence of God.

Then Jesus takes it one step further. When Jesus leaves earth to take His place at the right hand of God, He leaves the Holy Spirit. The literal presence of God. Not to dwell in a building. Not to dwell in only The Christ. But to dwell in you and me. To journey with us. I believe that when Jesus talks about the gates of hell and how they will not overcome the church(one of my favorite moments in scripture), He is not only talking about how the church will build His kingdom and restore what has been lost. He also meant it in an intimate way. Just like Paul mentions in Romans, there will be nothing that can separate us from His love. Nothing will be able to keep us from Deep relationship with Him because He wants to be so present with Us that He dwells within us, always communing with us whether we know it or not. Hell can’t separate us from God’s presence because the temple was restored so He can dwell within us.

The good news is Notre Dame will be rebuilt around what remains of the original building. Just as Notre Dame was built on the ruins of two previous churches. It was a beautiful church and will be again because God won’t let His temple be destroyed. But as it is rebuilt let’s view it as a reminder of how Jesus, The Temple, was rebuilt so that we could commune with a God who loves us so profoundly. So whether its a building, a season, your bible, or just a significant loss. Let’s grieve. Let’s acknowledge what’s been taken. It’s good for us to take a few days or even a few months or years to feel the loss of something that mattered. But let’s grieve with hope because Sunday is indeed coming.

In Reckless Pursuit,

Mindy

A Jealous Love

It’s Valentine’s day…the day of love and romance. If you walk into Target or Wal-Mart right now you will get hit in the face by stuffed animals, chocolates, and flowers. You will quickly be reminded of your desire to be pursued, loved, and fought for.

Let’s be honest though. We don’t need Valentine’s Day to remind us of those things. We are reminded of our desire for a deep consuming love by romantic comedies, dating websites, romance novels, or even the cute elderly couple holding hands in the grocery store. Mostly though it is a desire we were built with. That is why we are so drawn to this idea of an all consuming love.We spend our lives looking for a man that will love us passionately. The kind of love that will defend us, fight for us, and even die for us. We want to experience a love that makes us better, that builds our confidence, and that consumes us. Even when we’re married we still pursue this kind of relationship with our spouse. We are always striving for this kind of romance.

What if I told you this love was real? That it is waiting for you in a Christian Living book, on a dating website, or in a person? You would work for that kind of love. You would spend for it. I know I would.

Guess what? You Guys. It is real.

It’s all found in Jesus. It’s found in the Immanuel. The God that dwells with us.

I know. I. Know. What a cliché. Almost as cliché as Jesus is my boyfriend. I get it. No normal down to earth girl wants to be the girl who buys into the cliché but I promise you it’s true. Let me show you.
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away.”

-Song of Songs 8:6-7-

 

Now Song of Songs is a love story found in the Bible written about King Solomon and his bride. It even gets so heated in some places that young Jewish boys were not allowed to read it until they were of age because the Rabbi’s were afraid it would awaken some inappropriate feelings. It gets real you guys. Don’t worry. When you read Song of Solomon, it will mostly sound weird because all of the analogies are related to farming and nature. In college, I once had a fake wedding where the groom was reading from Song of Songs just to point out how weird it sounds in places. That is, however, a different story for a different day.

 The pretty awesome thing about this book is that it is also meant to be a reflection of how Christ feels about us. This love that we read about in Song of Songs is so fierce that it would not even be stopped by death. This love that is so passionate that there is nothing outside of relationship with us that can satisfy it. This love that we long for is real and waiting for us. We long for it so that we will be wooed into deep and intimate relationship with Jesus.

 But there is a catch. There is always a catch. Right?

Here is the deal. We only get this love in exchange for everything we have and everything we are. He wants every sin you carry, every disappointment you ache with, every desire you possess, and every thing that holds your attention. He wants all you got. This love is said to be so jealous that not even death will take your heart from the one that loves you. You can only satisfy this kind of jealous love by giving Jesus everything you’ve got including your attention.  

 There is a lot going in our individual worlds. Some of us have husbands, babies, and people who depend on us. Some of us have ministries, businesses, and careers. Some of us have the most adorable and awesome nieces and nephew known to man who we want to give our whole heart to. That’s me. I fall in that camp. Some of us have dreams, desires, and hopes that distract us from the God who walks so intimately with us. There is so much to take our attention away from God. So much to fill our time with. It’s hard to slow down and spend the time looking into the eyes of our lover. It’s hard to sit and wait on Him to whisper words that will woo us back to Him. It’s hard to rest in the embrace of His sweet presence. It is hard.

 But He is a jealous lover. This means when it’s hard for us He will fight for our attention. He will start stripping away the things we love, value, or hold dear to get our attention. He will remove the temporary things of this life that distract us from hearing the words our souls have been longing to hear. He will bring us to a place of emptiness where all we can do is fall into His presence and wait on His healing.

 Then we get mad. We get mad at Him for removing the things that get our attention. See we are so fickle. We want someone to love us so fiercely that they would do whatever it took to win our hearts but when it unfolds in a way we don’t enjoy then we will settle for a lukewarm love that allows us to be comfortable.

 Girls. We can no longer settle for a lukewarm love. We can no longer settle for cheap romance, easy happy endings, and shallow relationships. We cannot keep living like this while our maker is waiting to love us with a passion that cannot be quenched by many waters. We cannot waste the sweet affection of a close and intimate lover.

 Today I’m making a choice to give God my attention. To lay my focus on the altar for Him to consume with His love that burns like a blazing fire. I’m choosing to lay down the things He is asking for so that I can walk in the fullness of the intimacy He longs to experience with me.

 What about you? Will you join me? What are you going to lay down so that more of your attention will be on the only one who can love your soul in the way it was designed to be loved?

It’s Good Friday Ya’ll

Good Friday.

Words really can’t express what’s going on in my heart today.  Joy, gratefulness, sadness, hope–those are kind of obvious.  Today, though, I feel this weight, too.  A weight I can’t explain quite yet.  But I’ll try.

Good Friday was the day when Jesus was mocked, mistreated, and  murdered.  He was beaten, abused, spat on, and abandoned by most of His friends.  This is the day when all of our shame was put on Jesus.

The reason this day bears so much weight is because it’s the day when a lot of us can relate to Jesus.  Often times we separate ourselves from Him because He is a lot of things we are not.  He is victorious, He is Holy, He is above all things, He is fully God, and He is fully man.  He is different than us.  I want to be clear that I believe we have victory in all things, and that we are called to be holy.  Jesus is always those things, though, and we get those things because of the sacrifice He made on this day.  The difference is He is those things, and we receive those things.

Because of that difference, I think we can sometimes find Jesus unrelatable, distant from our circumstances, or unsympathetic.  The truth is most of us have been mistreated, disregarded, and abandoned by someone we love in a deep time of need.  A lot of us have been abused, whether it be physically, emotionally, sexually, or mentally.  Too many of us have felt the same shame, brokeness, and loss that Jesus felt on this day.  If there is no other day in all of eternity when we can relate to what Jesus felt, I believe today we can.  Today, we sit in very similar places.

This truth, however, is no coincidence in the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.  He died this kind of death on purpose.  He wants to relate to us, He wants to be close to us, and He wants to make us whole.  Jesus has been tempted in every way possible, so He can sympathize with us (Hebrews 4:15).  He understands our struggle, our hurt, and our deepest pain.  He lived it, and because He lived it, He can comfort us.

So my challenge for all of us is this.  Today, as we remember the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross, let’s remember our own hurt, shame, and fear.  Don’t rush past it.  Don’t ignore it.  Don’t forget that it happened.  It matters.  And it matters for a lot of reasons.  Today, though we need to remember our hurt so we can acknowledge that we have such a loving savior–one who would experience this hurt and shame just to get close to us.  Just to relate to us.  The sacrifice He made, and His death, is enough to move my heart to follow Him.  He died a painful death to save me from hell.  Yeah.  That is a big deal.  But the knowledge of the way He died–just to comfort me, just to sit in the circumstances I have sat in–that’s a big deal, too.  He did it not just to save me, but to be close to me.  Not only is He close to me, but because He undersands my broken places, He knows how to make them whole.  That was the whole point of this day.  To be close enough to me to make me whole.

Well, I really just don’t have words to explain what that does to me.

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

-Isaiah 53:5 ESV-

I am made whole because He is close, and because of that, I will keep living in reckless pursuit of my Holy and Intimate God.

I also wrote a few posts a long time ago on Jesus in the garden and what it taught me. You can check them out here.