I have a vague recollection of the day I first called You.
A recollection of being surrounded by people, yet so alone.
A recollection of wanting You to be with me. Wanting to be together.
So I called You. I called on You; I called to You.
I extended an invitation.
Looking back, it wasn’t a great invitation. If I were to rephrase it realistically, it would probably go something like this:
“I have nothing. Everything I think I own really belongs to my parents. I don’t know who I am yet. I don’t know who you are, either. I have no knowledge or understanding of how to host you or even speak to you. My life is broken and I don’t even know it yet. It’s going to get so much worse and it won’t be a very nice place for you to stay. You won’t feel welcome a lot of the time. But will you please come here and stay with me?”
Yet You, apparently, do not turn down invitations to even the most cramped and lowest-rated lodgings. You showed up. Instantly. Arms open and engulfing me in a bear hug. I felt it.
Later, I told my mom about it. “I asked Jesus into my heart, and I felt Him come in.”
“Do you know what that means, sweetie?”
Yes. No. Maybe. It means he lives with me and in me and God is HERE!
“It means that you must obey Him for the rest of your life. Can you do that? Do you want to do that?”
Because who wouldn’t want to obey someone who loved you and came the first time you called? —no hesitation, no distance, no polite refusal on the grounds that He had other people to see or places to go.
Over the years, I learned more about You . . . this Jesus I audaciously invited into desperately inadequate accommodations. Sometimes I made You feel really welcome in my heart and my life. Other times . . . I was unfaithful. I strayed, but accused You.
Always, though, You were there. When I pushed you out the door, I turned around to find You at my kitchen table. When I tried to drown out Your voice with sleep, You flew into my dreams with vivid imagery I couldn’t shut my eyes to. You warned me and pointed out the decay that was appearing in my home because I wouldn’t let You work and renovate – in fact, I barely let You in. And it’s breaking my heart right now to even remember that. How could I shun the One who loved me more than His pride? Because I certainly gave You reasons to be ashamed. And when I think of how glorious You are, I realize that You deeply humble Yourself every time You stay in my brokenness with me – every time you faithfully continue to accept the invitation I extended so many years ago.
My invitation still stands, and I am more sure of my desire for You than ever. Lord, I know that there are still decaying places in my life. I give You permission – and I humbly ask: please tear down those places. Rip out the very foundation and lay a new one. Make Jesus the cornerstone of my entire being. I have signed, and am signing, over my ownership and rights to You. You have purchased me and all that I am; I eagerly agree to the terms you laid out in Your Word. Don’t stop renewing until you have redone everything in a way that utterly glorifies You.
Thank you for being faithful to me, Your servant, Your daughter. Thank You for loving me enough to come running when I call. And thank You, Jesus, for daily and hourly calling to me . . . inviting me . . . and inviting Yourself in.
“And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” – John 3:14-21 (NLT)
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 (ESV)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)