Wednesday, January 20, 2016

This is for you, my friend

    This is for you, my friend. This is for you, you who struggle with how the Father sees you. This is for you, who thinks your failure. This is for you, who thinks you'll never be enough, successful enough, pretty enough, smart enough. This is for you. You know who you are.

    This is for you, you who believes God is disappointed in you. This is for you, you who believes that God is waiting for you to get your act together before He will truly love you. This is for you, my friend who believes, but doubts. This is for you.

    I'm going to tell you a story tonight, a story I preach to myself during the day. You're a character in the story, friend, but you're not the hero, I'm afraid.You know the story. You've been told before. Maybe you heard it as a child, maybe you heard it as a teen, maybe you heard it as an adult. But don't roll your eyes and walk away yet.

    Because I'm not going to start where most people start. I'm not going to start at the cross. I'm not going to start with Abraham. I'm not even going to start with Eden. My starting point is a millennia ago, before time, before the world was. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved." 

     Don't bother with a moment for your Calvinist/Arminian/Calminian viewpoints for a minute. Just read the text. This is what God talks about His role in salvation before time began. This is where the gospel begins. It was not the knee jerk response of God's to His creation's actions. It was God's sovereign plan from before He even began the actual physical beginnings of bringing His plan about.

     Before the world had shape, before time existed, the Father knew you. This is not a word that communicates a far out, mere knowledge of you. He knew you, intimately. He saw your face. He knew your name. He even loved you before you even existed. Ponder that for a moment. God, the sovereign Creator, the perfectly holy, immensely powerful God of the universe, the One that breathes out stars and calls Leviathan His play toy and nations His foot stool, He saw you before time, and He chose you. He placed His love on you; He desired you.

    Are you special, my friend? Your face, your name, every detail of your life, was intimately known by our Creator 1000 years, 10,000 years, 1,000,000 years before you existed. And with that knowledge, full knowledge of who you were, every action, good or bad, your light side and your dark side, with knowledge of your deepest, darkest secret, He chose you. He chose you. He made you His. He purposed to cut down every barrier, every obstacle, and to bear every toil and every torment it took in order to make you His own.

    But you, my friend, would have none of it. See, we're rebels. We're defiant. We hated Him. We took His love, His blessings, His heart, and we crushed it. We turned our back on Him, we spit in His face, and we waved our fists in the face of His blessings. You, my dear friend, became an enemy of God's.

    That's where the story should have ended. By all the rules of human justice and fairness, God had given us a chance, we rejected it, and holy justice demanded that His wrath fall on us. His wrath, His just nature would not be denied. Defiance would be punished, no exceptions, no free runs. If we had been god, the story would have ended there.

    But thank God, we don't serve a civilized God. We don't serve a God who follows human rules and human understanding. He is a wild man, wild enough to break the rules of our understanding and forever destroy the box of our understanding we would try to fit Him into.

    Our enemy gloats. He stands over us, fully knowledgeable that God's righteous nature demands satisfaction for sin and that with our rejection of Him, our enemy gains legal right to us. We are his to enjoy, to destroy, and he will relish every moment of his triumph over these rebels. He stands, ready to strike the blow.

    When in walks, the Intercessor. He stands between us, and He takes the blow. Our blow. He takes death, He takes hell, He takes on Himself everything that is or every will be necessary to make me perfectly right with God, to make me His own child. He bears hell, He walks the flames of hell and stands beneath the Father's wrath and genuine fury against sin, for us.

     But, if the story stopped there, as beautiful as it would be, it would fall short of the truth. The magnitude of mercy remains unknown in the story we normally say. But we don't walk into the Father's presence as just His sons, His miserable failures of children who come in forlorn and by the skin of their teeth. No, never that.

     Because not only does the Intercessor take the blow, but He takes the scars, the failures, the rebellion, the defiance, the dirty cloths that are our puny attempts at goodness, and He takes them for Himself. He lets the full cup of God's wrath pour out on Him as our substitute. But in their place, He gives us His beauty. Rags for robes. Ashes for art. Scars for saints. Brass hearts for beauty.

     With one fell blow, every rule, every idea of justice, every principle we ever thought we know comes falling, shattered, to the ground. That God would die, for me? In what world is that the way it goes? It what novel does that happen? What God, of any religion, gives Himself, tortures Himself, out of love for His enemies, because of His great love for them, His desire for them? What God calls enemies His bride? What God calls rebels His children? What God calls His murderers His friends?

     A God who loves recklessly, unconditionally, relentlessly. A God who loves the undeserving, the scarred, the failures, the ragamuffins, and makes us perfect. A God who desires us so relentlessly that He will overcome every obstacle, do whatever is necessary to make His. A God who loves us not grudgingly, but intimately. A God who willingly allows His heart to be hurt and grieved so that He can love, so that we can be His. A God who would pour Himself out for His creation. A God who would describe Himself as our lover, one who has won our love despite all odds and all obstacles.

     No one, I repeat, no one who can say this is the story of their life can say that they are not special. You are not a failure. You do not fall short. You do not lack any beauty, any successes, any goodness. In our Intercessor, is life. He is our Father; we are His children. He is our lover; we are His bride. He is our King, we are His servants. He is our commissioner; we are His ambassadors.

     Our guilt stares us in the face. It slaps us. It knocks us down. Our perception of who we are tells us we are not enough, that we fall short too much, that that last sin was the last straw that chased God away or made us no longer desirable to Him. But the truth, the truth! It stares us in the face if we'd only grasp it. It sits at our fingertips as we gasp, and cry, and pray to find our way back into God's favor.

     The truth is that where I fail, Christ succeeds in me. The truth is that where I am not pretty, God is my beauty. The truth is that where I fall short, God is my portion. The truth is that when I am defenseless, God is my fortress. The truth is that when I need help, God is my Father. The truth is that when I am alone, God is my lover.

     The truth is that God, yes, God desires you. No one whom God desires can call themselves ordinary. No one whom God calls beautiful, no one for whom Christ died can ever call themselves anything less than beautiful, justified, perfect, loved.

     This truth is for you, my friend. For the doubter, the ragamuffin, the one who cries at night alone. The truth is for you. It stares in your face, it lies at your fingertips. He desires you. He chases after you. Ted Dekker is so true when he says, "He chooses. He pursues. He woos. He protects. He lavishes." That is your Father. That, my dear friend, is the truth.



  1. Wow every time I come here I read such good posts! Thanks for the time you put into it!

    1. Thanks for reading! People reading and commenting are what keep me writing, so thanks!

  2. Taylor this is beautiful. I honestly don't have words to tell you how much I appreciated this post. Thank you :)

  3. Great post, Taylor! This was very encouraging, and I'm sure that whoever it was directed to was encouraged by it as well.

  4. I can't say enough how awesome this post is!! Thank you, Taylor. :)

  5. I can't say enough how awesome this post is!! Thank you, Taylor. :)