This afternoon I went into my closet to pray (not something I usually do). I wanted a word from God as it had been so long. I feel compelled to witness to others, but it always seems so fruitless. Co-workers are unmoved. My children are apathetic. My wife is overburdened. I am ineffective at even the easy tasks. Something is missing.
I sat there picturing Jesus walking toward me by the seashore. There were several other around, but the crowd was not dense. As he walked toward me, I realized that I would need to come closer to the beach to encounter him. Perhaps, I could just fall in behind the handful of others that followed him. If he did not engage me, at least I could hear him speaking.
Finally, I ran up toward the crowd. I fell in behind them, but Jesus had noticed me. He looked back hastily and replied, “If you are trying to hawk what I say to others for your own gain, then I want no part of it.”
I was frozen in my tracks. I knew he was right. What was I going to do with it? Tell others some great revelation so they would think I was wise. Perhaps if enough people started listening to me, I could spend my time doing that instead of my day job. I could travel the globe amazing crowds with the revelations that Jesus had given me.
I slowly began to turn away, dejected. But wait! I want to be with Jesus. I don’t care if others ever hear what Jesus tells me. I just want to be with Jesus. I quickly turned to catch up with him; however, something was different. I was no longer a grown man, but a small child. I ran up to Jesus with all the exuberance a five year old could muster. Jesus quickly bent down and scooped me up in his arms. He shifted me to his right arm and continued walking. I was exhilarated, but it didn’t last. Quickly my enthusiasm turned to shame. He stopped and embraced me, but my arms stayed by my side. I was so embarrassed and ashamed. As his embrace loosened and I settled back onto his arm, he gently lifted my chin. He smiled at me and said, “I love you.”
Slowly the shame began to fade. I put my arm around his shoulder, as he again began to walk toward a distant darkness. “Where are you taking me?” I asked. He only smiled at me. I felt so safe and joyful that it did not matter.
Slowly the darkness began to lift and I saw that we had entered a city. The crowd was much heavier. There were people walking every which way; they looked very busy. Others sat along the streets or leaned up against the walls- the poor, the outcast. Children ran about the crowd asking for money. Then I noticed an unusual group of armed men. They surrounded another man who looked strikingly like Jesus; however, this man had much nicer clothes and seemed to go where ever the group muscled him to go.
“Who are they?” I asked as I pointed toward the small band.
“Those are the religious leaders. They act like they are protecting me, but really that is just a cheap look-alike with them. It makes them feel very important.”
As I looked around, I took in the rest of the crowd. “What about them?” I asked as I pointed toward those sitting along the street side. They seemed hopeless. Just then a young child ran up to us with his hand held open. Gently Jesus bent toward him. “I have no money to give you, but…” Off he ran to the next person in the crowd. Then one of those sitting by the road mumbled something to us. He too opened his hand for something. Jesus gestured back with his open hand, but the man quickly put his hand down and cast his eyes again toward the ground.
“What was going on?” I wondered silently. Didn’t they know that this was Jesus? They didn’t even give Jesus the time to answer their questions or see what he may have given them. It made me hurt. Then I saw others. They looked too exhausted and weary to even lift a hand, much less walk toward us. “What about them?” I asked again.
“They are the reason we are here.”
I was troubled. Then I saw a small family making their way through the crowd. I was horrified. My wife looked so tired. My three teen boys kept looking up to her for strength, but she had none to give. I hurt like I hadn’t hurt before. “Jesus, what about them?” I pleaded.
“Look at yourself,” Jesus said.
I looked down. I saw Jesus, but I was no longer on his arm. Where was I? I could tell that I was still with him, but it was as if I had dissolved into his arms. Was I in his bicep? Gradually, I sensed what had changed. I was somehow part of his body. At first I did not know what to think about this? Then it hit me. “Does this mean that we can be together always?” I began to sob great tears of joy as the realization took hold of me. I again looked at my wife and children. I looked down at the legs of Jesus and, suddenly, they began sprinting under my control. My will and Jesus’ will were now one. It was as if I had disappeared and only Jesus remained. I ran to my wife and embraced her.
Now I understood.