Friday, December 9, 2011

Crossing Borders

Mountain View ~
Stealing Your Breath With Views of the Heart of God

A friend of mine heard about the distressing predicament of many Russian orphans. She interrupted her life to cross the borders of her country to be with them. She could have  ignored their needs, but instead she placed herself smack-dab in the middle of their lives. She ate with them, conversed with them, listened to their stories, held them in her arms, and wiped their tears. While she was among them, the scales fell from her eyes. She came to understand their fears, their living conditions, and their needs. She made their suffering her own. During this time she connected with a boy named Andrei. 

When the day came for her to leave Russia, she shares that she placed her right palm against the window from inside the van, carefully extending each finger to align with Andrei's on the opposite side of the glass. She looked into his face full of promise and possibility against the stark, gray background of the Russian countryside and tried to memorize each feature.

Andrei reached up with his right hand and wrote two Russian words on the van window, wet with condensation.  As the van slowly rolled forward, she kept her hand pressed tightly to the glass.  Andrei moved alongside the van until he could no longer keep up.  

She strained to see him standing there waving until the van rounded the corner of the building. Pine trees passed by in a blur.  She watched the windowpane intently until she could no longer read the two words he had written on the window.  “Come back." (Story shared by Tarissa Helms)

God has memorized every feature of our faces (Psalm 139). He designed us with huge promise, and potential. Like the pane of glass in the van’s window, our disobedience and rebellion places our relationship with God in a state of separation. He tries to get our attention, but often we ignore Him and go our own way. His heart is deeply grieved as He watches us move further and further in the opposite direction. There are times when I have grieved God's heart in this way. My choices and my strong will have pulled me away from him.

When we begin to understand the extreme holiness and perfection of God's nature, we realize there is no way we can make ourselves good enough for him. There is no way to remove that distance between us by our own efforts. Our choices, mistakes, and human nature make us orphans, and leave us with a longing in our hearts for him to come back and claim us (whether we realize it or not).

To resolve our predicament, God did something unthinkable. Through the birth of Christ, he became present in our daily existence.                                                                                                           

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel – which means, “God with us.” Matthew 1:23

Jesus inconvenienced Himself and crossed the borders of heaven in order to be present with us. He was perfect and could have turned His nose up at all of us, but He placed Himself smack-dab in the middle of the lives of imperfect human beings from all walks of life. He ate dinner with tax collectors, touched the lepers, conversed with a Samaritan woman, listened to the story of a bleeding woman, defended an adulterous woman, patiently taught ordinary men, and wiped away tears.

As a result, He gained an intimate understanding of who we are as human beings. He understands our struggles, fears, insecurities, and temptations; our loneliness, pain, and suffering; our regrets, sadness, and despair; our circumstances, dreams, hopes, and joys. He came to make our suffering his own. 

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.” Isaiah 53:3 (NIV)

“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:18 (NIV)

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.” Hebrews 4:15 (NIV)

At Christmas time, we remember that God couldn’t stand to leave us alone and orphaned so He came to be with us

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. John 1:14

Through Christ, God makes us a part of his family. (Romans 8:15; 1 John 3:1)

In love, he predestined us to adoption as sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will . . . Ephesians 1:4-5

When you think of the baby in the manger, keep these things in mind:

  • God came to be with us so that we could be with him. 
  • Without him, we are all orphans.
  • He yearns to draw us into his "family." 
  • If you are feeling lonely, alienated, and estranged from family this holiday season, remember there is a place where you "belong". If you would like to join his family, see my page (in menu at the top of blog) entitled, "Knowing Jesus."

Anticipating the celebration of his gift to us,