I have a friend, well, he's a friend of a friend really. He's a bazillion miles away from family and he's valiantly serving his country despite the fact that in his heart is the greatest war of his life. I honestly don't know him all that well, but I do know those who cherish his heart like it were their own. For some reason, even way before he faced all the troubles he currently does, he itched his way into the spot in my brain-a-log labeled "remember me". This poor guy is killing himself trying to restore his ludicrous marriage. He is in the middle of nowhere giving selflessly every single day. Some days he gets to talk to family, some days he doesn't. All the while his heart is being trampled on. But here is what gets me: he feels far from God. Knowing that he is doing what he is doing - which, even though it is such a crappy situation, I think is incredibly admirable - I can't imagine that a person far from God would be able do what he does - what he IS doing. But it's got me thinking. How close do I feel to God? Can you see it in my life? If I were suddenly put in the life circumstance that he is, would I be able to be as valiant as I see him being?
I went back to John's account of Jesus' resurrection. Mary Magdalene is sitting at Jesus' tomb weeping over the loss not only of her friend, but over his very body. She peers inside the tomb, desperate to be near him; hoping for even for just his corpse. She finds two angels there, and its funny almost, to me that she's so stricken by her grief that she doesn't even seemed fazed by the fact that she's in the presence of heavenly beings. Instead, she asks them if they know where Jesus is. While she's still trying to get information from the angels, Jesus appears. She is so consumed by her grief she doesn't even know its him. Out of her desperation to be near him - or perhaps, FEEL close to him - she mistakes him for the gardener and asks if he knows where Jesus is. I imagine she felt a war in her heart. The picture in my head is of Mary frantically asking questions amid her tears; practically running around in hysteria. All Jesus does is call out to her. He just says her name and she knows it. "Mary."
I want to have that kind of familiarity with the Lord. I desire to overflow with that kind of closeness. So that people around me who need that assurance and peace, could receive it just from being around me. I want it to ooze from my pours. I want my friend to have that kind of intimacy with God. I ache for the Lord to call the name of my friend and immediately heal the terrible war in his heart. I want him to know his worth, and to fight as hard for it as he is for his broken, rebellious wife.
"But now, this is what the LORD says- he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; YOU ARE MINE. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Hold One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, 'Give them up!' and to the south, 'do not hold them back.' Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth- everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." Isa. 43:1-7