We are dust until He breathes life into us.
The exhale of His lungs is resuscitation to us. Does it awe you to know that you are a billion molecules bound together by a single word from the lips of God?
Nothing more or less than a mote of dust suspended breathless and shocked by a crimson strand of grace. It would change me if I believed that Almighty God really liked me. Wouldn’t it change you? His very star-making hands fashioned you. He saw you before the dawn of creation, and He. Likes. You. Quirks and all. All creation waits, whimpering and lost, until it finds Him. Until it finds itself found in Him. I, heart lacerated, find my soul cool and laid bare before Him. It’s in the quietness, the stillness, that I hush enough to hear Him. Expecting a lecture, I find instead His embrace. He offers, first and always, Himself.
To be held in His heart is to find perfect acceptance. Not based on our faithfulness, but springing out of His. Oh, if we could just slow and still and realize it’s not through trying harder that we find His smile, but in knowing through and through that He’s already done it. Not for a second have we ever left His heart. Through the years, and the choices, and the day-in, day-out rough-and-tumble of life…He never looked away. Not once.
- When I starved for control and the anorexia relentlessly consumed me…He waited, patient, to satisfy me.
- When my need for affirmation became a raging hunger and led me to places I never meant to go…He lit the way back home.
- When I doubted His goodness and pushed hard against Him…He leaned in and drew close, patient, gentle, steady.
- When stupid choices broke my heart, they broke His first.
- When idols filled my gaze and I reached out again to what would only devour me, He offered Himself, again. And again. And again.
As many times as I have needed Him, He was there. He always is, you know. The Great I AM is never the Great I AM NOT. He just is and always will be. He will never stop being, and being there, for His beloved ones.
The gift of His presence can feel like a curse to lips parched for blessings and eyes glazed with pain. When we feel the need to tack on a happy face with Him as we walk through hell-scorched valleys, it’s no favor. But does He ask us to pretend? Never. This life…it’s not a waltz through the park, and He knows it. Being honest with Him is the only way to find strength in His presence through the dark places.
It is easy to feel the splinters in our crosses, and hard to remember that He carried them first. It is easy to shock at the blood from our own wounds, and hard to remember that Jesus’ blood obliterates every sin, and will heal every wound. White-lipped and dizzy, He drenched the dust of Jerusalem with sticky red and bought your soul and mine from hell. “It is finished,” He said, and there is nothing we can do that will ever make it unfinished. Nothing. Like a wayward child, I toddle away, again and again, and always, He rescues, pursues, restores.
What does He see in us? Not the sum of our choices, but the faces of His favorite children. The One who can forget any sin, can forget exactly none of us, even the seemingly least significant, noticed, and worthy. In fact, He can do anything but forget us. We are caught in the cup of His hand, and we teeter so close, so forgetful of the glories of lavish grace. We are amnesiac people, so easily distracted, and I feel the tug to forget like the incessant yank of a toddler. Here I stand on the cusp of radiance, my toes nearly singed by glory, and my mind skitters over the grocery list, the to do list, and oh, I wanted to paint my nails.
Friends, I get it. Our eyes, tarnished by a patina of self-absorption, need Jesus. Oh, how we need to turn our eyes and our hearts to Jesus. If we could just do that…the mountain of weight we drag into His presence might shrink in comparison. And the weight of promise in His name – the Great I AM – would settle buoyant on our souls. And yet, I clutch my fist full of wishes and heave them to the summer sky, begging for blessings and protection and affirmation to cloak the skeletal cold of my distrust. They flutter like snowflakes to the warm ground and melt in the heat of the moment, cold and momentary company for a heart that needs, more than anything, Jesus.
I have no need of blessings without the Blesser. The protection I most need is not against some malicious evil doer, but the capricious and selfish nature of my own heart. What affirmation is enough? I am already His. His child. Seated in the heavenlies. No circumstance will ever strip that from me. When I remember who He is…I remember who I am. And who I am…is inexorably linked to the Great I AM. I can’t separate it. Twined irrevocably, my identity is lost until I find it preserved in Him. (Psalm 103).
Dust? Yes, we are. But only before He breathes the breath of life into us. You – undeniably His pride and joy – are so much more than the dusty labels you place on yourself. Single. Married. Young. Old. Success. Failure. Businesswoman. Mother. Teacher. Daughter. Friend. Strip them all away, and you’ll find the only one that sticks through all eternity:
You are God’s beloved child, forever.