When I come to him frantic, blubbery, and afraid, I open his Word. I read promises perfectly suited to my need, and I am overwhelmed. The thought that God, the one who holds the stars in place and set the world in motion, penned words to sooth my troubled heart is humbling and awe inspiring.
When I see evidence of his gentle hand shaping, guiding, and refining those I love, I bow my heart in gratitude. I watch how gently and subtly he woos them. Like he does with me, inch by inch he cinches the cords of loving kindness that bring them ever closer to him.
Sometimes he steps back and lets them suffer the consequences of their spiritual independence. Yet when they humbly turn toward him, he wraps his tender around them and welcomes them home.
I want my dear ones to love and follow Jesus more than life itself, but I am impotent to make it happen. Only God can.
But God can.
When the line of loved ones stretches like a strand of pearls around my heart, I understand Paul’s agonizing cry in Romans 9:3, “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers . . .”
But I cannot exchange my own salvation for theirs. Thankfully, there is saving grace enough for all. Refining grace, too, and so I labor in love and prayer. Lord, make me an instrument, not a stumbling block. Give me wisdom to know when to speak and when to be silent, when to act, and when to pray.
He answers me, works through me, and amazes me.
Other times Jesus frightens me—more than the highest roller coaster or the interstate at night in the rain. I feel his power in a thunderstorm. I see his mighty hand in the wide ocean and tall mountains. At night, when all is still, and I can feel my heart thumping in my chest, I know only his mercy keeps it beating.
Mark 10:32 tells me I am not alone in my amazed fear of Jesus. His early disciples felt it too.
“Now they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them; and they were amazed. And as they followed they were afraid.”
Every day with Jesus gives me new reasons to be amazed. His ability to meet my needs. His still small voice that speaks to my heart. His desire for an intimate and personal relationship with me and those I love—wretched souls that we are.
And every day with Jesus gives me new reasons to be afraid. His power to build up and to tear down. His holiness that reduces my works to filthy rags. His perfect justice that sees every sinful thought, word, and action. Were it not for Christ, I would be utterly condemned. Hopeless to stand before him.
"Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath” (Eph. 2:3).
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-7)
Now it’s your turn. What aspects of God’s character amaze you? What parts frighten you? How has Christ brought a healthy balance? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment in the box below and share your insight.
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