The Emrace

"Jesus was matter-of-fact: 'Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you." Mark 11:22...."The last word will be spoken by God and the last word is 'Victory.' " E. Stanley Jones

 

I heard Sheila Walsh tell the story of her encounter with a homeless man during her college days in London, England. Sitting under a tree, she had made eye contact with him, and led of the Spirit, went over to his bench and began to talk to him. Eventually she asked him to share some things about himself. It came to light that the man had been a very successful Doctor practicing among the wealthiest of the city. Affluence and recognition were his. Eventually though, his abuse of alcohol and prescription drugs cost him his marriage and family as well as the loss of his license to practice medicine. He spiraled into deeper addiction and life on the street. He told her that one day he walked past a department store that had mirrors in the window. He caught a glimpse of a man dressed in a dirty shirt, with dirty, unkempt hair. He said he had an immediate feeling of distaste and repulsion for what he saw. Then he realized he was looking at himself. His thought was, "This is what I've become."

 

As I heard that story, I was reminded of one from my own life. I was at a party, and being at a party was what my life was all about at the time. Yet I can remember that though I was surrounded by the usual revelers, I was filled with a deep sense of lostness and meaninglessness. There must have been at least 50 people in that apartment, and many were sitting on the floor. I was one of them. Someone took a picture and then shared it. I then saw myself in the midst of that crowd, having the most forlorn, lost look on my face. I, like the Doctor, thought "This is what I have become." I knew then that life as I was living it could not go on. Something had to change, and I knew if it didn't, my lifestyle would one day end my life. Someone once said that nobody finds the rock until they hit bottom. I had hit the bottom, and within a month, through His miraculous ways, I found Him. Actually, He found me. Indeed, He knew where I was all the time.

 

This brings me to the above Scripture from The Message translation of the Bible. Jesus calls us to embrace His life, to receive it as our own. What I found as I did embrace it, is that He in turn was embracing me. We often times think in terms of clinging to Him and not letting go, and there is truth in that, but the true clinging, the real embrace is from Him. He clings to us. He embraces us. Wherever we are, His embrace of us is there as well. We may choose to leave it, live apart from it. But always before us is a Jesus with arms wide open. Welcoming us into His embrace. Where in your life do you need His embrace right now? 

 

There's a very popular print available that shows Jesus welcoming one of His into heaven, into His embrace. It's a beautiful picture, but we don't have to wait for heaven to experience the intimacy of His embrace. It is available to us right now. The eternal quality of His life is offered to us right now. We can live in His embrace as we embrace Him, right now. Are you ready for it all, right now?

Walsh did not share the rest of her encounter with the homeless Doctor. I hope she will some day. I know that the embrace of Christ was available to him no matter what his life had become. No matter who and what he'd become. I know because he made it available to me, despite all that I had become. That's why I love the above quote from Jones. He always has the last word concerning us, and His word, if we'll receive it, is victory. No matter what we've been, where we are, or what we've done or had done to us, that is His last word for us. For you. It comes with His embrace. He invites you into it. Do you come?

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

 

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