I have a question. A personal and somewhat confrontational question that might tempt you to roll your eyes and stop reading right now. While I can’t keep you from doing just that, I still have to ask,
Who is Jesus to you?
If I were to sit down with you, here on my couch, with coffee in hand (always) and ask you about your view of God and His Son, I wonder what you would tell me. Maybe you would be offended by the question itself, but if you could be totally gut-honest, what would be your answer?
Maybe Jesus, to you, is just a good, moral example to read about in a history book. Maybe He is someone whom you seem to only pray to in times of crisis, or maybe He is your closest friend. Maybe you bring Him your sorrows and greatest joys, instead of only the unfair moments in life. Is God someone or something that is a nice thought, but seems to be more of a made-up fairy tale? Perhaps He is a bit more harsh, like a ‘cosmic cop’ who is waiting to punish you if you make a mistake. Is He a taker–someone who has taken away from you that which you cared for deeply? Is He more like Santa Clause, someone you bring your wish list to at certain times and wonder if you’ve been good enough to receive what you’ve asked for? Maybe you struggle to even believe He exists, and if so, does He really have time to care about you?
If there is anything these last two months have given me, it is the gift of sight. Collier’s life and death, though painful, have given me some of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received from the Lord. Particularly, His nearness and the ability to see Him, in part, for who He really is. While I miss my baby boy and am still wrestling through the uncomfortable process of grief, I find thankfulness growing in my heart daily that Jesus is continually opening my eyes to all that He is. He continues to prove every day that He is…
My Shepherd. Do you ever wonder why Psalm 23 has become the most commonly read Scripture at funerals? It’s because in times of despair, we who are left to grieve need to be reminded that there is One who is walking through the valley with us. And He doesn’t walk with us as One who doesn’t understand. He’s been there. God knows what it’s like to watch His only Son die a cruel and undeserved death. Jesus knows what it’s like to actually experience death itself, and He promises that when it’s sting touches our lives He will be with us in the midst. He doesn’t abandon us. He is there, walking beside us and removing any fear or doubt that tries to creep into our hearts. In the middle of the valley of the shadow, He gives us all we need–faith, peace, comfort, joy, and the assurance of His presence. These are not things that can be manufactured. They are gifts that we receive from Him at the moment we need them. Every single thing we need in the middle of heartache, our Shepherd gives us freely because He cares.
My Comforter. I’ve spent a lot more time reading my Bible lately. That’s because nothing else comforts like the Word of God. I’ve been more drawn to the few moments throughout the Bible where we get glimpses of mothers grieving for sons. Hannah grieved over conceiving Samuel. Mary watched as Jesus was crucified and it pierced her soul (Luke 2:35). And then there are a few verses about the widow of Nain. On His way into the city, Jesus notices this grieving mother in a funeral procession for her only son. Does He walk on by? No. He draws near to her. His response to her is one of my favorite moments in Scripture. “When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, Don’t cry (Luke 7:13).” His heart went out to her. He saw her pain, and it broke His heart. And He comforted her with His presence and two simple words spoken with great compassion, “don’t cry.” Who is Jesus in the middle of grief? He is a compassionate comforter. He has been this Comforter for me and He can be for you too.
My Savior. If you were to tell me who Jesus is to you, how I wish that you would say He is your Savior. And if you can’t say that now, I pray you will. Did you know that death and separation from God were never supposed to be a part of your life? God knew how much those things would hurt us, here and beyond the grave. He doesn’t want that for you or me. That’s why He made a way of escape. He used the very thing that hurts us most to bring you salvation and victory. He conquered death by death. He allowed His sinless Son to take on the punishment you deserve so that you won’t have to be hurt by all that sin and death brought into this world anymore. This is His gift to you. He won’t make you reach out and take this gift, but He wants you to and so do I.
See the picture above? I dreaded the day Collier’s headstone came in for weeks. Mostly because there is nothing right about seeing your child’s name engraved on a symbol of death. However, seeing it didn’t bother me nearly as much as I had anticipated. Why? Because I know that death does not have the final say over my life or my son’s. My Savior alone speaks the final word, and His words are life. Yes, I grieve but not without hope.
So who is Jesus to you? I hope that God will give you the gift of sight, too. He wants you to see Him as Shepherd, Comforter, Savior and so much more.