No Plan B Jesus

Psalm 16:5 (the message)
My choice is you, God, first and only.
And now I find I’m your choice!

Lately I find myself listening to this particular song a lot.   It’s not new, but the lyrics and Kari Jobe’s sweet and gentle voice seem to soothe my rough edges. It’s called “You Are For Me” and the chorus goes like this:

I know that You are for me
I know that You are for me
I know that You will never
Forsake me in my weakness
I know that You have come down
Even if to ride upon my heart
To remind me
Of Who You are

The entire song is so beautiful. It’s one of those that draws deep and sifts your heart for hidden places.

Places we cover, deny or don’t even recognize. Places where the fear of rejection, abandonment and criticism lurks. Places we mask with “Prasie the Lord!” and high-level involvement. We nod in agreement and may even respond with applause when Pastor declares, If God is for us then who can be against us?! But sometimes we are who is against us.

Recently I looked up the word strive. I’m closely acquainted with striving, but sometimes I like to read definitions because it opens my heart up a bit more. So one of the definitions for strive is “to strenuously oppose.”

Sometimes we forget that hearing a truth from the pulpit, even over the span of a lifetime, does not necessarily translate into knowing.

Until our agreement bends to conviction, we might not really know.

Until our applause shakes loose the lock on those hidden heart places, we might not really know.

A few years ago I found myself standing with a small group of believers singing that same song during staff meetings at my church. I would close my eyes and fight the tears threatening to spill onto my cheeks. I remember my Pastor praying over us…to be completely confident that God was for us, for our families and our ministries. Those tears were not the kind I let freely flow on Sundays. Those tears, the way my heart raced, were about my still-hidden places. I knew God placed me exactly where He had me, and yet I still opposed myself somewhere deep inside. I hadn’t fully caught it…

He was for me. Not just my role, my position, my calling or even how well it would or would not turn out. He was for Vanessa Anne, the person.

Cheering me on at home. At church. At meetings. At the pool with my kids. At dinner. At the grocery store. He was for me–not the stuff I was doing.

See, the outcomes and fruit from church life, days at the pool and family dinners are all quite predictable when Jesus fills us and overflows. Jesus-fruit grows…love, joy, peace, gentleness, self-control, etc. But it’s hard to get that close if we don’t really, really believe we are welcome.

Many of us, most probably, don’t really believe God is truly for us this way. He is our biggest encourager often fighting our greatest opponent:

Us.

I love how David (from 1st & 2nd Samuel) sounds so pleasantly surprised to realize he is God’s choice! He has thrown his lot in with the God of Israel and then low-and-behold…he discovers God is all the way in for him, as well.

Sure God was for David, chose David, he’s in the Bible!

But wait! David told lies, battled pride, committed adultery and murder! He wasn’t the best at dealing with issues in his family, either. But throughout the good, the bad and the badder (smile), I think David did one essential thing.

My choice is you, God, first and only.

David kept choosing God, no matter what. He is the prime and pristine example of continuously running toward a Creator Who not only loves us, but completely understands and fully embraces us just as we are. When we allow it.

Living embraced does not wink at sloppy living, it heals it. Redeems it.

I believe He beckons us…

Stop striving against My love, son.

Stop opposing yourself, daughter.

Whatever your circumstance, whatever your struggles with sin, whatever your issues…your Creator is not against you. He is for you. In every single aspect of your life, not depending on the aspects, in every aspect. God is cheering us on toward healing, restoration, redemption, wholeness and destiny. Waiting for us to release those threatening, scary tears that grant Him admission to our locked away places.

He is not going to be alarmed by what is there. He already knows.

Do you relate? Does this push against stuck-shut doors of your heart? Rooms so stifled with the pain of rejection that you’ve thrown away the key? Do your own imperfections prod you into striving? Does an unnamed pressure build in your chest with the suggestion that Creator is cheering you on…cheering you closer? Would you rather know Him from a distance…a place where you can never discover He did not approve of you, after all? Did not like you? Even notice you?

My friend, if so, may I encourage you today?

Creator has been “all in” and on your side since before you were born. He did not dream up humanity and devise plan B after Adam sinned. I imagine as Creator breathed life into Adam He glanced over toward His Son with a smile…grinning like a new daddy asking “Do you see my boy?!” And then I picture Jesus shaking his head yes…with tears of overwhelming joy on His face…and whispering, I’m ready. I’m ready.

A God who creates you with free will hopes you’ll choose to love Him. Learn to trust Him. A God who longs for relationship dreamed up our lives and His death in one broad stroke of supernatural imagination.

If we dare to believe that He is for us, we might open ourselves up completely to Him. We might stop opposing ourselves, striving against our imperfections. We can sink into the safety of His approval and acceptance right where we are.

Jesus was not plan B. The Son, Creator on a Cross, was always plan A. From the foundation of the world, the Bible says.

He was for you then and He is for you now.

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