The egg hunt was over in minutes.
Nearly half an hour of egg hiding skills on the part of all of the parents, and the hunt was over in less than five minutes.
My son beamed at me as he showed me his spoils and waited patiently to crack open the plastic eggs back in the classroom. The wind whipped across the wide open field because even though it’s a few days in to April, spring doesn’t really show up in these here parts until about May.
It was on our way back to class that I saw it. The same plaque that I had seen before on the hallway wall; the same face in the same picture. The same words. But today it finally registered.
A friendly face, or a seemingly friendly face. Gone for 14 years.
And my mind tried to picture a world where time had trotted ahead 14 years past whatever day will one day be the day that I draw my very last breath in this life. And I can’t even fathom it. I wonder if the person in that picture could do so either.
I wonder what we all think this world is going to look like 14 years beyond us, when we’re dead and gone and just bones and dust in the ground. A friend, gone 5 years this past week. My grandfather, gone nearly 7 years this summer. It really happens. We really do die.
That face has haunted me. As I looked ahead to Good Friday, the words of pastors and authors and prophets and apostles ring in my head.
And I realize the depravity of myself.
I can’t fathom a world without me in it. I’m the center of my own world. And I live each day like I don’t think that last day is going to come. I live each day like all of these days aren’t going to amount to anything on that last day, and on the first day in the rest of my days in the Kingdom.
That face on the plaque brought a bit of levity to the situation for me.
As I stand here with empty hands.
And I realize all of the things that I am wasting and it’s like I can’t breathe.
“Your time spent pursuing love will not be wasted. The time spent embracing your moments, reading that extra bedtime book, sitting together to dinner, loving a child in their unkindness and weakness matter. Live each moment knowing even your unseen movement toward love and away from unkindness matters.”
— Kara Tippetts, Big Love
It might sound scary. It might sound like a confrontation with a midlife crisis or mortality. The truth is that this is a confrontation. It is a confrontation with myself, with the darkest parts of me.
More than rabid hatred for the gospel and open opposition to God, our Heavenly Father hated apathy more. Woe to those who have seen and tasted and yet do not change.
Their hearts turn over into stone and remain unchanged and unmoved by the power of a holy God. Unmoved by His miracles. And most importantly, unmoved by His love.
How can you not be changed?
He says that many had seen His miracles and yet they did not change. They still at times did not believe. They were led by a pillar of light out of slavery and oppression through the bedrock of a sea and yet, they were hard-hearted. They were healed and saw the blind see and the paralyzed walk, and yet, they were hard-hearted.
I am guilty of seeing so many prayers answered, petitions granted. And yet, what makes me hard-hearted is that I am most unmoved by His love.
I discount that love. I don’t believe in that love. I don’t believe that I could be loved up a hill, bloodied and bruised in those footsteps to Calvary.
How foolish I am. That I could write off such shattering love.
Or is it really apathy, so as much as it is fear?
Our fear is that we are loved.
He loves us far more than we think He ever could. We think that there is no vastness or greatness in His love that enables Him to cover the things that we have done and still hold us precious.
For me? That leads me to apathy. Because it if isn’t possible to be loved as much as the word says that I am, then what’s the point? I will try and I will fail. And try again and fail again. The same circle, over and over again.
As I took communion this weekend, and I held that cup in my hands, I waited. Just for something. Before I had walked down front to get the elements, I just asked God, “where are you, Lord. Because I don’t feel it.”
I stared at the cup, waiting for something magical to happen. And the scripture was read.
“By His stripes, we are healed.”
And He said, that is it.
It was the cleanest I had ever felt. The weight of communion hit me like a ton of bricks. It is as great and significant, and yet as simple as that.
By HIS wounds, I am healed.
His wounds healed mine.
He didn’t free us so to make us servants. He didn’t free us to make us subjects. He freed us so that we would love Him, and know that we are loved. So that we would be free from ever having to feel the pangs of a life lived unloved.
By His love, I will be undone. His love completes me, His love will undo me. Until there is nothing left to hide. Nothing left to consider. Nothing else but He and I.