I had one of those moments this week. You know, those moments when all the noise around you shushes as if someone pushed a cosmic “mute” button, and in the sudden silence you hear the echo of a whisper in your heart. While everything else continues around you, in the laser focus of that moment, you know He’s speaking. What He said took my breath away, and tears slipped down my cheeks as I remembered what He had done.
I was sitting on the front row, facing the platform from the left side of the half-filled sanctuary. I had just finished singing about Jesus’ love when the preacher stepped to the podium. Behind him leaned a large wooden cross, draped in purple and black with a crown of thorns circling the top. He asked us to stand as he read the text from John 18, the part when Jesus stands before Pilate and the judge questions the mob: “What accusations do you bring against this man?”
It happened right after that. As I listened to the pastor and looked at the cross, I was suddenly aware that I’d just been asked the same question. And I know … I KNOW the accusations I’ve both hurled at Him out loud and nurtured in the quiet of my mind. I almost can’t breathe.
I’ve just sung the rebuttal to my own accusations, proclaiming via melody that I believe His love is vast. Unmeasured. Boundless. Free. Yet I’ve accused Him countless times: “Do you really love me?” And, “How can you say You love me when You’ve withheld what I want?”
In the moment, I’m stunned by my own hypocrisy: singing about a truth I’ve openly doubted. And, I’m overwhelmed by the answer framing the speaker in front of me. How can I look at the cross and ever accuse Him of not loving me?
Forgive me, Lord.
That day also marked two years since our second miscarriage. Two years and nine months since our first. Of all the pains He has woven into my journey, these griefs have been among the hardest of the hard. Yet, without minimizing the loss I feel in my mother’s heart, even this pain does not excuse my accusations.
I needed to see the cross again this week. I needed to linger over the lyrics of the song I was asked to sing. There are hard things in all of our lives. But, if we believe the gospel, then we can trust that all that is hard is purposeful. He embraced the cross because His love would not allow Him to do otherwise. When I embrace it too, I see more clearly – I feel more closely – the strong current of love that is underneath me, all around me, filling me with resurrection hope.
The view at the cross silences my accusations and replaces them with wonder.
We don’t get to know all the answers to our questions right now. But, oh the deep, deep love … all I need and trust … is the deep, deep love of Jesus.