In my life at least, I’ve found the way to deep friendship with someone is to “go through it” with them. Talking and sharing serves some purpose, but if I’m really going to open up to someone or feel actually close to a person, it’s going to be because I’ve experienced something together with them. I think it’s more a guy thing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if women can connect to this as well.
In reflecting on a recent study on the sufferings of Christ as part of the In Christ’s Image Training Curriculum I’m going through, I realized that I need to go through more stuff with Christ—that’s how I’m going to get to know Him better and start feeling the most “myself” around Him and sharing things with Him.
In my mind, I compared it to taking a guided tour. You go to a place of historic significance and you hear a person talk about what happened there… Even if the person giving the tour were the very character around which the historic event took place and could tell very detailed and engaging stories, your connection with that person would be infinitely limited compared to having gone through that experience with the person.
So too, when we read about Christ in the Bible or we hear a sermon, we’re kind of on a guided tour. Now, it’s a little different because God’s Word is actually “living and active” and therefore can do some real work which a regular historical narrative cannot. Were God to choose so, he could download himself into someone and avoid all the messiness of relationships. But that’s not how He works and that’s not my point.
My point is that I want a more active relationship with Him. And that means doing stuff together. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on if you look at it in the natural or spiritual, many of His activities as recorded in Scripture involved rejection and suffering. We love the idea of Christ inviting us into His miraculous activity, or His fellowship with the saints, or His intimacy with the Father, or His victory over sin and temptation, or bearing His fruit.
But when it comes to being without beauty, despised, rejected, sorrowful, acquainted with grief, stricken, smitten, wounded, bruised, chastised, oppressed and like a lamb to slaughter… (Isaiah 53) we aren’t all that interested. And even if we think we are, we probably aren’t (John 13:38).
Yet, how well can we possibly know Christ without participating in these activities? How well can I possibly know someone who is well-acquainted with rejection when I constantly hedge myself against being rejected by others? How well can I connect with someone who was without beauty when I put a strong emphasis on my appearance? Doesn’t seem like it would work too well.
So, with hesitancy mixed with excitement, I yield myself to your agenda, Jesus. Not my will, but yours.