Not What I Expected

Isaiah 53:1 (the message)
Who believes what we’ve heard and seen?
Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?

My little Leighton has developed a pattern lately. After we drop Rivers and Leah out at school and come back home she insists on being held and cuddled for a little while. School mornings are a high-gear affair, so stopping to just rock and cuddle requires a mental recalibration on my part.

But it’s worth it.

As she climbs on me this morning I flip over to Isaiah and I’m caught by the first verse of chapter 53.

Who would’ve thought it would look like this?

All I can think about is how often we think knowing Jesus and living a Christian life must fit neatly inside our upbringing and comfort zone. I am sweetly struck by reality. Messiah did not come as  expected. He did not take His cue from the expectations of the religious crowd.

We cannot choreograph knowing Him.

We cannot make Him fit or move.

Oh, I try. With the best of intentions I try. And yet I continue to slam into the same truth…Jesus is a person.

Not a formula to decode. Not a stagehand to direct.

I begin to sink into a truth now clinging in my arms.

Leighton just wants some mommy time. She wants the safety of my love. She’s not crying for a cup of milk…not squirming for a diaper change. She doesn’t even want me to play with her. She just wants to be close…draw near for a little while.

I find I’m surprised somewhere deep inside. She just wants me. For a little while every morning Leighton needs to be filled with my love and acceptance and know deep inside her little girl heart that I’m pleased to hold her. Pleased and overjoyed to give her what she needs.

Leighton and I, we don’t have a plan worked out. I have never once put her off or held back because she didn’t approach me the right way. She toddles over and reaches out her arms, unashamed and fully aware of my largeness, my power.

But she’s not afraid to need me. To want me.

To come.

See, I don’t think this is what we expect. I don’t think we’ve believed, reconciled within our battling hearts, that Creator makes Himself armchair available to us. It goes against every spiritual grain we possess.

But Jesus has always gone against the grain of human expectation.

Creator born of created, Majesty sleeping in straw.

The earth His footstool and yet walking, sandal-footed, along its dusty roads.

Pure perfection touching leprous hands.

Innocence and selfless love crowned with criminal thorns.

Who would’ve thought God’s saving power would look like this? 2,000 years later we think it makes perfect sense.

But we can’t just come. We don’t draw near unless we have a script.

And so we miss out on being filled. Frustration reigns because Jesus does not meet our expectations and operate inside our upbringing and comfort zone. What if we remember Jesus is a person who is more than able to show His power to the nations all the while holding us near? What if we accept it’s not always going to work the way we thought. Or even how we were taught.

Because the whole mess of redemption is about organic and eternal relationship…union…a wholeness and completion that rarely comes through well-written scripts.

I long to be filled. My deepest places crave nearness. Like Leighton, I just want to cling and hold on till I’m ready for the day. I dare to hope Jesus finds pleasure in my desire to be near. I dare to believe that coming near is enough. I dare to believe that a God Who would make Himself my sacrifice would most certainly welcome my company. The real me. The rogue, off-script and fumbling me.

I don’t wanna rehearse my lines. I don’t wanna play a part. So sometimes I have to come in silence. Sometimes I might pour out my heart with words or tears. Sometimes I may not hear or feel anything and sometimes I may shatter in awe as He clearly speaks.

It won’t matter. It doesn’t. I’m just gonna climb and cling like my little daughter with only one expectation.

Jesus wants to hold me.

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