And I love Jesus, don't get me wrong, but it's a little intimidating when anyone wants us to come closer.
It's not that old childish fear that when you come closer, someone's going to tell you how much trouble you're in. It's not that someone's going to whisper about that thing you did wrong and what you should have done better or different. It's not that Adam or that Eve inside of us that wants to hide in shame. I think coming close to God evokes a fear more sinister than any of these.
It brings us face-to-face with grace. And, at least for me, grace is a harder pill than punishment.
Because here's the truth: when we come closer, we're stepping into more brilliant light. We're standing in more open spaces. We're getting close enough that someone can see all of us - the very nooks and crannies of our being. We're daring to say, This is who I am. Because the closer we are, the less room there is to hide. When we draw near to Jesus, He has a chance to really look at us.
And it feels like maybe we're about to be rejected. That's the whisper in our head that makes us hesitate. It's a lie, of course; we know it is. But that's what we're afraid of, on the surface. We're afraid that God is going to see all of us and what little we are is about to be exposed for how little it really is. We're afraid that God will see what we see when we look in the mirror - that there's something missing after all. That's what our head tells us.
Our heart, however, screams just the opposite. It's afraid to be enough. It knows all its weaknesses but it also knows its God, and it knows that when we get there, God is going to take us in His arms with tender care. He's going to look at us with grace-filled eyes. And He's going to love us just as we are, for everything that we are, and not hold against us anything that we're not. He's going to judge us as being sufficient for His love. He's going to declare us worthy of His death. He's going to give us this incredible gift of acceptance.
And it's hard to be accepted by God when we're busy rejecting ourselves.
So I'm not very good at go because, like the disciples, I want to ask, to where will I go? But it turns out, the more I sit here and think about it, that I'm not really that good at come, either. Because I don't really know what to do with the grace.
What am I supposed to do with myself if I can't harp on my deficiencies? What am I supposed to do with myself if I'm exactly as strong, and as weak, as I'm supposed to be? What am I supposed to do with my self-hatred if I find out the standard of love declares me lovable? It requires a lot from a man to be loved and most of us...despite the longing in our hearts for this very thing...don't have what it takes. We struggle to let ourselves be loved. We struggle to come, fearing we'll find what we both want and cannot understand - we're okay. We're beautiful, though broken. We're whole, though unholy. We're loved, though lacking. We're enough, though empty.
Maybe these past couple of days, I've had you thinking what you might do the next time God says Go but there's another question to be thinking about, too. What will you do when He beckons, Come?
Will you dare step forward and let Him see you? Will you draw closer and expose your very self?
Will you risk hearing the words that will both comfort you and make you tremble - I love you. You are Mine. You are enough.
Can you handle it?