Emmanuel

Urbana tidbits 1 – unedited and mildly incoherent because sleep deprivation;

“We’re going to ask Jesus to reveal a memory to you that He wants to heal you from.” 

A memory surfaces; I am sitting on the ground staring up at my mother and pleading with her to come home; she screams at me to go away and leave her alone. She stands at the opening to her cubicle and I huddle a little behind it, half hiding from her and half opening myself up to her. 

“Now we’re going to ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you in that room because Emmanual – God promises to always be with us.”

My mind stutters to a stop as I contemplate his words – Jesus is there? In that room? We wait for Him to reveal Himself and I replay the memory over and over again in my head. After a while, I start to see Jesus, standing beside my mother, looking silently at me as she screams.

“Can you make out His expression or disposition?”

“He looks sad. He looks really sad.”

“Okay, so Jesus is there in the room with you. Is there anything you want to ask Him?” 

My fists clench in response and it takes me a while to voice my question because I have to manage the sudden bitterness and frustration that clouds in my heart. “Why are you letting this happen?” I ask Him. We wait for a long time in silence for Him to answer me but He never does. Instead, I watch my memory change. Jesus moves to stand in between my mother and I, arms spread out in a protective stance, facing my mother. I cower behind Him and continue to weep. 

“Thank you, Jesus, for revealing yourself to Becca, for showing her that you are with her. Thank you for protecting her. If there is anything else you wish to reveal to her, we ask that you make it known to her now.”

Almost immediately, the image in my head changes again. Jesus crouches down in front of me, grasps my shoulders with His hands and looks straight into my eyes. “Look at me. I’m right here.” He is pleading with me. My memory self looks past Him, up to my mother, and continues to despair; I cannot see Him or hear Him (because at the time, I did not know who Jesus was) but still He holds my shoulders and tells me that He’s right there. 

“How does it make you feel – knowing that He was there with you during that time?”

It takes me a while to put feelings into words; “It feels like enough.” He is enough.

It’s amazing for me to realize that Jesus has been with me my whole life. He was present, even when I didn’t know Him; He stuck around and comforted me even when I never acknowledged His presence. 

It makes me feel incredibly loved to know that Jesus saw me hurt and instead of turning away, approached me and faced rejection after rejection after rejection. 

It satisfies me to know that He was there, in front of me, telling me that He is with me, in place of giving me an answer to the reason behind my suffering. My puny human (quite slow little) brain most probably cannot comprehend why He allowed me to suffer. I can’t understand His grand master plan, His sovereignty, and the way He makes every intricate detail of my life work for good. Even if He did choose to answer me, I probably wouldn’t be able to receive it. But, instead He gives me Himself and I find that it is most definitely enough. 

“This is what following Jesus actually looks like!!” Francis Chan exclaims as He explains the sacrifice, submission, and costs to following Jesus. My immediate thought is, “Oh no, then I haven’t been following Christ at all, all this time?? Then what have I been doing this whole time?”

Disappointment, repentance, hope, fear, and excitement, intermingled into one; I don’t know where God is calling me and I’m terrified to find out. But, I want to follow Him, I want to follow Him, I want to follow Him. No matter the costs, no matter the sacrifice, no matter the suffering, I want to be able to look God in the eye and say, “Yes.” 

I look at all the things I have now in my life and wonder if I will be able to give them all up. “Will I be able to say ‘yes’ to you, Lord?” I seriously wonder if I can. 

He responds with, “Emmanuel.” Look at me. I am with You. 

And suddenly, I find that I am much more willing. Jesus, all my hope is in you.

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