And just like that, it’s Holy Week. The space between Christmas and now has been swallowed up by a thousand little miracles and joys and confusions and hurts. The sparkling Christmas lights have always pointed to this darkening of skies as the veil is about to be torn and the nails will pierce the hands, and yet, caught up in the chaotic mundane of our lives, we hardly saw it coming.
We’re on the brink of a death. We’re on the brink of the ultimate act of vulnerability, as a man who calls Himself “God” declares his irrepressible love for us.
Vulnerability. What a word. I kind of hate it.
“To love is to be vulnerable,” C.S. Lewis said. I would say, “To love is to be vulnerable is to die.”
We like all of our little assurances, suppressing our desire to give of ourselves because what if we’re left unanswered and unsatisfied, with more taken that what we’ve received? We don’t want to pour out our hearts unless we know we’ll be cherished; we don’t want to risk because we don’t want to crash.
Whether that’s for the kids in Africa, our family members, the people we’re dating, or our friends, we’ll feel or give of ourselves for as long as it’s comfortable. We’re petrified of being without; of appearing the fool, of returning empty-handed.
And then there’s this God on the cross.
He’s exposed Himself wholly and entirely, because He’s utterly sure of His heart. He’s found something that’s greater than the need to preserve a reputation or appear in control.
He leaves nothing unsaid. He goes all the way. Thinking about it leaves me a little bit breathless, honestly.
The way we love is always in such great need of justification. We don’t always allow our hearts to do what they were created to do: give themselves away. We don’t want to be seen as “too much”; we want to be rational and in control. And so, we take axes to our already mangled hearts and plant our feet in the cement of apathy.
But He wants to open our hands and show us how to love. To love is to be vulnerable.
I was the little girl who felt everything so deeply and was so caught up in wonder and beauty. But as I grew up, the world waged war on my innocence, just like everyone else’s. I learned to lock my heart up. I learned not to trust and to chase control instead of being chased by the heart of the Father.
Can you relate? Big desires, big loves, big vulnerability…but then you partner with the lie that there’s something wrong with being seen, because someone saw and didn’t like it, and let you know that they didn’t. So you design yourself to appear carefree and unattached.
But there is no life there. There’s no beauty in this false security; there’s no wonder in the safety of running and hiding. We weren’t made to be in control; we were created to love with everything that we are.
Jesus shatters that as He hangs on the cross. He presents to us the truth of how He feels about us, knowing that we might never return this love. And even if we do, we could never love with a love that matches His. We could never do for Him what He does for us.
But He doesn’t care.
It’s time to give of ourselves more fully. Let’s love big. His sacrifice makes it so we never have to be without; we can love big and without reserve because He did. Because He does. In the midst of the death of it all, as we’re pouring our hearts out for those around us, He’s there. And He tells us that we’ll never go without.
Let Him show you. When you look at the cross this week, look at the vulnerability of this Jesus, who has given everything. Let it shatter the fear of giving of your beautiful heart, because this world needs your heart. Your family needs your heart, your friends need you heart. It’s time to drop the facades, it’s time to give up the need for affirmation and assurance and approval. It’s time to stop counting the cost and obsessing with the potential loss. He’s already given you everything that you need.
Let Him show you what it is to truly love, to truly be loved. To be vulnerable. He’s so present in this space of vulnerability; this is what you were created for. And it’s quite ironic, because it’s in this death that you’ll find the most life.
Be not afraid.