He just couldn’t understand why. This boy with curly blonde hair and big blue eyes, looking at me so quizzically. And I’m glad he couldn’t.
This 7 year old boy who loves Jesus with all his heart and has no limitations to his expectations of who Jesus is and what He can do.
It was just a normal morning. We were doing our regular reading routine this morning, the 3 kids and me. All of us a little sleepy and groggy, trying to wake up enough to start our day.
The reading we came to in our “Mini and Maxi devotions” was Luke 5. Peter and his friends had been fishing all night, without catching a thing. They come in to shore, and Jesus ends up using their boat as a makeshift pulpit. Then comes the miracle of a boatload of fish when Peter least expects it, followed by Peter’s well known response: “When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8)
Maybe I’ve read this story too many times. Maybe I just know too well that feeling of being soiled and not wanting to be too close to Jesus in my shame. But as I read these words, I didn’t expect to see my Joshua’s face contort in utter confusion. “I don’t understand”, he said. So I tried to explain.
I asked him if he’s ever felt like he’s not good enough to be near Jesus. If he’d ever messed up so much that he felt too ashamed to come close to Jesus. As I talked, my overly expressive boy’s face changed from confusion to shock and horror. All he could say was, “but WHY?! Why wouldn’t you want to be with Jesus?!”
I’ve heard numerous sermons and explanations of that moment when Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to “such as these”. And here in front of my bleary morning eyes was this verse being lived out in front of me. Because on one hand, I know that when we compare ourselves to the great glory of God, we find ourselves, like Job, saying “My ears had heard of youbut now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myselfand repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42) And I believe this is what is happening in Peter’s heart in this moment.
But in comes crashing the beautiful paradox. Because, my friend! This also is true. And I believe this may be what was happening in Jesus’ heart in this moment. That beyond the reality of who we are compared to Him, He longs for us to come close and just be with Him.
In our filth.
In our emptiness.
In our shame.
I hear the words of Romans 8 ring loud in my heart – “ For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
And I see Him stooped low, casting off His crown for a manger, so that I can draw close to Him.
I see Him in agony on a cross, so that I can be made clean.
I see Him in all His glory beside God the Father interceding still on our behalf! (Romans 8:34)
And yet how many times have I hidden from Him because of my sin? How many times has my heart reeled with words like Peter’s “Go away from me – I am a sinner?”
As I hear His words still ringing in the air, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.“ (Mt 11:29) Did you hear that?!
AND YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOUL!
Oh how I long to be nestled in.
To come to Jesus with a heart as simple and clear as my Joshua’s – with no worry or doubt, just trust.
So come! Let’s not spend another day pushing back the One who gave it all to be close to you. His Promises are sure, His Arms are secure, His Words are true.
It’s time to start really believing them.