“….Jesus…said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have….and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.” Luke 18:22,23
What makes one line, one request, sound so hard? This text sat shallow in my peripheral most of my life. I’ve never been “rich” like this ruler appears to be, so giving everything to the poor didn’t pull any weight for a girl just trying to make a life.
Until. Until all that reading brought out a line that thumped me in the forehead. Until all this adult life of mine dashed like a movie strip on fast forward through my memory, and something busted open. When all those moments poured together, something inside the skeleton of me, broke.
It was Oswald Chambers. The young man who, in today’s standards, wasn’t given a long life, but was assuredly given a long, deep, relationship with his Savior. It wasn’t the question he asked that undid me. It was his statement after the question.
“Have you ever heard the Master say something very difficult to you? If you haven’t, I question whether you have ever heard Him say anything at all.”
Ok, friend. So here’s where I let you see a bit of my broken heart. A bit of the raw. Being an adult has been, so far, my favorite part of my life. Childhood was fun, but awkward. This adulthood has made me feel in control of my decisions. I balance what I can, and if I can’t I strive to figure the rest out. Not always successfully, but if I fail, it’s my own fault. I own that.
And that’s the surface of it.
The deep part? The part of the Master? The part where love exists? Where trust and respect and forgiveness pool together? That tight wire stance of “my own decisions” and “the Masters request” bump the line and I’ve wobbled, dangerously.
Funny, how there’s this proverbial mirror we women love to stand in front of and observe our decisions. We can pivot and twist just so. Suck our cheeks in and flatten our womanly bellies and pull our lives a little bit more together. Categorize the calendar and set alarms and look back at ourselves and apply one more dollop of foundation and then walk away with shoulders set. And when the mirror fades into the shadows of the night we’re finding the foundation of our interior lives crumbling. So we try again the next day.
Friend, this is my dangerous wobble. You see, there’s nothing difficult in setting up a mirror. The really hard? Is hearing the Master speak and say, “Turn it around, and hear Me here”.
That mirror of my life, my control, my decision-making, is crumbling the ultimate love affair. The love affair with the Maker of my heart. Never once has he asked me to DO more or BE more or square my shoulders at all. He has asked me to submit my decision-making. Sounds simple. But say it out loud to yourself. Not so easy, is it? And yet, how is it any different from what he was asking the rich young ruler? This is shaking up my vision of that verse. That request.
John Piper writes, “Love is costly. It always involves some kind of self-denial. It often demands suffering.” There’s no mirror in love. Mirrors are one-sided, which gives us only a one sided relationship. This may be controversial to some of you, so chew on it a bit, but hear me out. That mirror will fail you. Life will throw unexpected and terrifying things your way, if they haven’t already. And I say this with the memory of finding myself doubled over with fear and pain. My heart has leaked with brokenness in an irreversible way. But my Master has found me in the quiet and loved me back to my feet. No one else can do that because we’re all jagged, only He is complete and whole. Hear Him when He says. “There is no mirror more beautiful than when you reflect My image.”
Friend, stop trying to be all. Sell the mirror and follow Christ. I can’t guarantee it will be easy, but the love you will find will be the greatest treasure you’ll ever own. Come to Christ, in whose presence are fullness of joy and pleasure forevermore. And when it hurts, He WILL be the soothing balm that covers your whole heart, soul, and mind. Even a stubborn girl like me is learning this.
In pure love with Christ,