Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery's shadow or reflection: the fact that you don't merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief. -C.S. Lewis-
Tonight was slow. I've said, and thought lately, that God often causes pain or hurt in order to slow things down and get our attention. Tonight things slowed down for me again. I told someone once that I think the two ways Satan gains influence in our lives are with God's permission and with ours. Tonight I gave him an in and he took it.
I'm not sure how it happens. Something bad happens and I go numb. Tonight it was Wii. Most of the time its TV or the Internet. I make noise - I ignore. It didn't work for me tonight. I'm not sure it ever really does. Anyway, I let my guard down. I began to feel sorry for myself. Before I knew it Satan had gotten in. I really hate him. He reminds me of all the things I hate in myself. When Satan brings the hurts of my past to the surface it's not heal them, he picks at them - inflames them. I swear, for a minute tonight something in me hurt in a way I haven't felt in a long time. The kind of hurt that makes your stomach knot up and your fist clinch. The kind of hurt you can't control or understand. Tonight I gave Satan just a little window and he drug all the darkness I've spent the last eight years burying back in through it.
One of the things I've come to love most about my Savior is his willingness to be where I am. If I've learned anything in recent years it's to look for him. I read the story of Nicodemus' encounter with Jesus recently. When John talks about Nicodemus he refers to him as the man who came to Jesus by night. Yes, in fear and uncertainty Nicodemus came to Jesus by night - but he came. It's interesting to me that the story doesn't mention that Nicodemus knocked on the door and woke Jesus up. It doesn't mention Jesus stumbling to the door in his pajamas wiping the sleep from his eyes. I'm just speculating, but I imagine Jesus was already in the street, waiting. I imagine all the disciples and Jesus having one of those long dinners and Jesus excusing himself saying he'd like some fresh air. I imagine Nicodemus coming around the corner in the dark trying to figure out how he's going to talk to Jesus without anyone knowing only to find Jesus leaned against the wall waiting for him. What Nicodemus found was a savior eager to meet him. He got Jesus at his best. John 3:16, the most powerful and precise explanation of the gospel message, was spoken to one man - in the shadows.
21 And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22 Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23 and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24 And he went with him.
This is what I read tonight. I'm not sure how to explain why this hit me the way it did. I think it was probably the words "my little daughter" followed by "he went with him." You see, I think the reason I was so bothered tonight is because it's the first time I've really dealt with past failures since becoming a dad. It scared me a little. I was afraid somehow I would let her down the way I've let others down, that my hurt would become her hurt - my burdens her burdens. My little daughter deserves better than that, my little daughter deserves a daddy that Jesus goes with.
I'm reminded once again that there is no place my Savior won't meet me, no place he's unwilling to go. Tonight sin created a moment, but it was invaded by Truth. Tonight Jesus gently whispered truth into the shadows. Tonight I got Jesus at his best.