Beautiful Between

living fully in the now & not yet

Are we missing something big about the cross?

missing-something-about-the-cross

It was like hearing the old story for the very first time, there in that makeshift Welsh church.

I was living in Paris and it was quintessential spring, with cherry blossoms on the Champs-Elysee and girls in sundresses laying out in the parks. Ten years ago and just like yesterday, you know? But despite the magic of Paris, I was achingly lonely.   

So I’d hopped a plane to cross the English Channel and taken a train to Wales to visit friends-of-friends-of-friends for some church conference. Perhaps I just wanted some company, so I stayed with strangers in a town called Llanelli and sat on hard, folding chairs in a high-school gym. I didn’t know how it would change me. I didn’t know I had been missing something about the cross and the crucifixion.

I had known the Lord five years by that point. In that time, I never believed I was loved, at least not in any type of personal way. God is love, I thought. Surely He has no choice in the matter.

But there on that cold, metal chair, it was like I heard a brand new story. They didn’t just talk about how He went to the cross for my sin and salvation. They talked about how He became united with us in His death.

Galatians 2:20 talks about how we are “crucified with Christ,” that it’s no longer us who live, but Christ who lives in us. In that high school gym, they talked about how we were co-crucified and how, in that moment, He joined Himself to us completely. I realized that all this time, I’d been missing something about the cross: that it wasn’t just about salvation. It was about getting closer to us.

I thought of Romeo and Juliet, how they were only united in death. How fitting that one of the great love stories of history should echo the truth of the greatest love story ever told. Only, as theirs ended in tragedy, this one ends in resurrection, in joy, in life.

I never got it before that moment. I never understood the way He came, not just to save us, not just to show us, but to become one with us. To become one with me.

It’s woven all through the incarnation and His days on earth: this delight in us. His desire for us.

And when it hit me, how He wanted His own heart to beat inside of me and mine in Him, that’s when I finally knew it:

He loves me.

He delights in me.

He wants to be close to me.

So He gets down in my darkness, in yours, in the darkness of all mankind, to get as close as possible to us in the midst of it.

Even now as I type these words, I know they fail miserably: for those of us who have known God and still find ourselves feeling outside the grasp of His affection, no words can ever be quite enough.

Perhaps it’s like color blindness, trying to grasp what people mean by “red” and “blue,” or listening to someone describe a gorgeous harmony we can’t quite here.

But this I know: like Saul’s outcast descendent brought to the table of the king, I’ve been brought into the household and family of God. I was never meant to huddle close to the windowpane, peering over the sill and through the glass to see what it’s like to be beloved. I am – we are – seated at the table, surrounded by love.

People told me about the love of God for years, but I just couldn’t hear the song. Funny, I finally heard it through this new understanding of how Christ came to be joined to us, not just to save us.

Today is the day we celebrate the resurrection, but perhaps this is why I love the week leading up to Easter, especially Good Friday. It’s easier to speed to resurrection, pushing past the pain of crucifixion. But resurrection only matters in light of the pain, suffering, and death that God used to get close to us.

Maybe you’re sitting in the dark still, in that place between the cross and the resurrection. Maybe you’ve never really known what it is for God to delight in you because you’ve only ever heard how you need to be saved from yourself.

Today, my prayer is you would see the incarnation, the crucifixion, and even the resurrection in a new light. That you would truly know the truth at the center of it all:

He loves you.

He delights in you.

He wants to be close to you.

 

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About Sarah

Hi, I'm Sarah. I love coffee, pancakes and street tacos. I'm a learner, a traveler and a creative mess. I've got a thing for redemption and seeing broken people living beautiful lives. That's the story I've lived, and the one I want for you. Let's be friends!

6 Replies

  1. Janet Robinson

    Wonderful read! You expressed yourself very well. I pray the Lord will use you to reach many with His mighty love!

  2. This is beautiful Sarah! Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

  3. Carolina

    This is absolutely the most beautiful description of this relationship I have read this week! You are an artist!

    1. Thanks so much, Carolina!!

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