I Was Her
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12 (NIV)
I saw her coming across the arena. Deliberately. Intentionally. Her eyes fixed on the stage … on me … on what I must have represented in that moment — a woman who might understand.
Through the crowd. Up the stairs. Across the stage. She stood next to me, pressing her shoulder against mine, as I was speaking to 6,500 women.
And there she was staring out at thousands, but pressing into one. Needing more than words.
Later, she explained she needed God and thought if she stood close enough to me, she just might be able to feel Him.
I didn’t have time to carefully plan what to do. I’d never had this happen before. I’ve never seen this happen. It wasn’t even on my scope of possibility. But there she was. And there I was. Two women who simply, desperately, need Jesus.
And because I am so hyper-aware of my own desperation for Jesus in every moment of every day, I simply wrapped my arm around her and kept on speaking.
It was a wrinkle in time. Something that wasn’t supposed to be, and yet was. And I think I now know why.
I needed to remember that ravenous longing I once had to press against somebody who knew Jesus. I was her. Looking at other people’s faith wondering how to get that. That depth. That closeness. That unswerving conviction.
I truly thought if only a person with that faith would let me be close enough, I’d discover their secret. I’d learn their routines. I’d mimic their obedience. I’d follow them to the ends of the earth until I got it right. Then, then, then, I’d feel close to Jesus. I’d understand the Bible. I’d pray powerful prayers. And all would finally make sense.
However, there is a big difference between being close to people who love Jesus and being close to Jesus Himself.
I can certainly learn from people. “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise” (Proverbs 13:20a, ESV).
But if I want closeness with Jesus, I won’t find that in following anyone but Jesus Himself. He is the One who must be pursued.
There have been a thousand whispers from my heart, “Show me, Jesus. Show me how to follow You, be close to You, press into You, be more like You … show me. Show me today. Show me in this minute. Show me, please Jesus, show me.”
A thousand whispers. And there will surely be thousands more that pour from my lips. For Jesus wants us to walk with Him. He says, “Follow me.” Over 20 times in the Gospels, “Follow me. Follow me.”
And those who dare to whisper yes and then walk in His ways, find the One for whom they are longing. They find light and love, hope and life — “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” John 8:12 (NIV)
Yes, there she was. And there I was. Two women who simply, desperately, need Jesus.
Dear Lord, I desperately need You. But I don’t ever want to settle for a secondhand relationship with You — relying on what others know of You, instead of seeking You for myself. I want to see You. I want to hear You. I want to know You. So I’m asking You to show me. Help me to follow You. I am choosing to press in close to You above all others today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” (NIV)
John 14:6, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Ask the Lord to help you take an honest look at your life. Are you following Jesus or are you following others more? Purposefully set aside time this week — just you, Jesus and His Word.