There are some days of the year which naturally lend themes to reminiscing, birthdays being one.
Early morning greetings from friends reminded her that today marked the anniversary of her entry into the world. Wandering back through the years, she saw a little girl who spent the better part of her days on the look-out for a friend. There was no memory of a time when she wasn’t searching — the intense longing to be seen and loved always somewhere deep inside.
If others felt a similar urgency to be noticed, the evidence was unapparent. She felt alone on the outside looking in.
And the days can be so painfully long when you’re invisible.
“Why doesn’t someone see me and invite me in?”
A single wall of her room held evidence that Someone did see her, although she didn’t know it — or Him — yet. A plate which had belonged to a grandmother she never knew hung above her bed. The words of “The Lord’s Prayer”, written in script, were surrounded by painted flowers. When she was old enough to read cursive, she memorized the prayer and wondered about this Father in heaven — and what “hallowed” meant.
Several years later she heard about inviting Jesus into her heart. She did so, with high hopes of finding a life on the inside.
When that didn’t happened, she wondered, “Am I still invisible?”
She continued to wander, feeling lonely but never alone.
“There has to be more than this.”
Her heart, long divided and battle weary, united with a single purpose: to find what He promised was hers.
Since she wasn’t sure, exactly, how to find what she was looking for, she did what she knew to do: read her bible, served, and, when a need came to her attention, she tried to meet it. Perhaps most importantly, she talked regularly to Him.
One day, He impressed upon her a specific request.
God: Take this step.
Girl: I don’t want to do that.
Girl: What is my purpose?
God: I already told you.
Girl: No, not that. What is my purpose?
God: I already told you what to do.
Girl: I’d rather not.
God: Have it your way.
Girl: What about my purpose?
Girl: Are you there?
Girl: (Remains defiant)
God: (Puts step directly in her path)
Stubborn with pride, she refused to act. For months. And it was such a small thing He asked of her.
When it became clear that she could not side-step her way out of this one, she did as He asked.
She couldn’t know, at the time, that a second test — which made the first one look like a cake walk — had already been set in motion. This one was scary, defying all understanding and any desire on her part.
Of all things, God. This?
It would most certainly have to be done in His strength alone. This, of course, was the point entirely.
The consequences of inaction were still fresh in her mind.
What was left in her wake was well-known. The thought of more of the same — merely existing — until she died
He came to give me abundant life…
propelled her forward.
She was totally unprepared for what happened next. Totally.Unprepared.
What followed was sudden — as if someone had flipped a switch.
There came a realization — this knowing — of the vast chasm between His power and her human effort. His Spirit — love, joy, peace, kindness — came as waves, flooding every crevice until there wasn’t room for even one more drop.
The old went missing — replaced with something new.
She awoke, during night’s stillness, not to worry, but songs of praise.
How did those get there?
Condemnation and shame — those voices she had tried, and failed, to shake — were silenced. In their places she found encouragement and hope.
Oh, endless hope! I love you! Where you came from?
God made her curious. She couldn’t help but wonder what, exactly, was going on.
If she had asked Jesus in, long ago, what, now, was this?
One day, she read:
“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
John 14:21 ESV
That word — manifest — was of great interest. It means “clear” or “obvious,” and it’s synonyms include: apparent, big as life, bold, clear-cut, conspicuous, crystal clear, disclosed, distinct, divulged, evidenced, evident, evinced, glaring, noticeable, open, palpable, patent, plain, prominent, revealed, shown, straightforward, told, unambiguous, unmistakable, visible.
In the midst of seeking — taking steps toward a destination yet unknown –
Jesus manifested himself to her.
His word taught her that she was seen. and loved.
The difference was that — now — not only did she believe it, she knew it.
~ ~ ~
There is treasure of immeasurable worth beyond mere existence. It’s beyond what our minds can comprehend.
If you’re wondering “Is all there is?” the answer is YES. God designed our hearts to find their rest — utterly and completely — in Him.
You will always have distractions. There will always be something else you’ll “need” to do. There will always be something new you’ll want to buy. The dust bunnies won’t hurt you, and you have enough stuff. Put down your to-do list, and be content with what you have.
Sit at the feet of Jesus. Set your heart and mind to know and love Him. Put Him first. Listen to what He says, and make yourself available to Him.
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 NASB