Glad Welcome

Two teens, children really, young hearts bled too early by pain and death.  Two children lost between the cracks of being unloved and unwanted.  Yet here they stand in celebration.   Two souls who should be living life shattered, two lives who should, perhaps, not even be living, stand before a crowd with hope radiating a peace that is beyond comprehension. 

And really, there but for the grace of God…
The grace of God.  The grace of God that has held me through some dark and lonely times.  The grace of God that crouched down beside me as a child and wept with me when my little girl heart was too full of uncertainty and questions.  The grace of God that found my aching soul through the thorns of a childhood that was uneasy.  The grace of God that, despite my doubt, waited for me to bridge the gap between knowing Him and wanting Him.  The grace of God that was there when my heart finally “[came] fearlessly into God’s presence, assured of His glad welcome” (Ephesians 3:12).

And these words “fearlessly,” “assured,” “glad welcome,”  they tumble around my mind as I wrestle with what each means.   Fearless does not describe my heart, it takes much to assure me.  I wonder what it would take for confident joy to step boldly and not hide, assured that God waits for me there with glad welcome? 
He waits for my bold proclamation – “I WANT God!”

 And each spoke of childhood years too full of tears, too full of hurt and each spoke of coming to a clear knowing that they wanted God.  They wanted.  They spoke not of a need of God, but of a desire.  Beyond salvation, beyond forgiveness, they spoke of a desire to reach out and touch His presence in their lives. 

John Piper penned these words and they sing to a sometimes weary heart that forgets the purpose of salvation – “Behind the repentance that turns away from sin, and behind the faith that embraces Christ is the birth of a new taste, a new longing, a new passion for the pleasure of God’s presence” (Desiring God). 
And when you strip away the mechanics, the gears of our faith, what you are left with is an ache to return to what your soul was created to receive. 

I long for Him.  I WANT Him.  And perhaps that is what has had me smiling like a fool these past days.  My heart has finally awakened to a desire to find joy in God’s presence.  And this morning my heart tumbles with the question of why my path might now seem narrow.  And I hear what God is whispering, “Child it is not the end that matters but bask, just for a time, bask in the pleasure of Me – this narrow path is slowing you down so that you can take pleasure in Me.  And I’m reminded of Ann Voskamp’s words about slowing time down, basking in thanksgiving and having a deep joy that leads to deep trust because God waits for me with glad welcome. 

And these children whom I have never met with eyes bright and quivering voices force me to the slow and unhurried as I enter into God’s glad welcome – the culmination, the consummation of praise – and boldly proclaim – I WANT Him!

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