Originally published in December, 2009 from a small room in India. This is still our heart.
I love Jesus. I really do. I met him when I was 14. But I have a feeling he was watching out for me from day one. When I first heard that message from a fresh faced kid at Crary Middle school, I scoffed. I didn’t believe. Jesus was a joke. I knew that. I knew it was just superstition and empty platitudes. But it is hard to argue with love. Love breaks through. And Ken, along with the many welcoming arms at the then small Faith Baptist Church, hugged me long enough and hard enough to melt my heart. And when the day finally came… when the dam broke, I held nothing back. I wanted to be loved. I needed someone who wouldn’t leave…
That’s how it was. All in. And it has been that way ever since. Nothing has ever tasted as good as Jesus. Nothing. Not women, not drink, not even money. Sure, it tastes good. But I found very quickly without Jesus all the good things that we have been given lose their taste.
Thankfully, I met and married Angie. She is the same way. Nothing satisfies her the way Jesus does. I am not her savior. She is strong and she trusts Him. And our journey together has been epic. I have yet to see one love story that rivals the romance of me and my bride. I watch Up, and I don’t cry out of longing. I cry because I understand.
Tonight, I held my baby and she cried… and I am crying now. There are no tears of regret. There are no tears of anger at one another. We are together. We cry because that is the only thing you can do sometimes. I cry because I need Jesus. I don’t need him to come and save me from some situation. Honestly, life is always an emergency here. Mobs, threats, new laws… there is always some rock coming in through our front window. I am not crying out and reaching up because I need some extra money, or because the mob is outside my door. We are crying out because we need Jesus in our lives. We are crying out because sometimes even big kids need their Daddy.
I love Jesus. After all these years that love has grown and matured. And my love is not just because of the promise of heaven. At first, that was all I could see. I was forgiven. But that is the beginning of a journey, not the end. Over all the years, he has led and provided. Over every obstacle and under every car tire, God was there watching out. I am not alone. And that daily presence… those promises and that power… it keeps me warm.
Angie and I are doing okay. We really are. I know I write with strong emotions. But life here lends itself to living every day as though it may be the last. Love and hope and grace all live so close to the surface. So the emotions run strong. But there is just as much joy as there is hurt. In our village, we baptized 8 people this last week. 4 of them were young men who have just begun coming to church. As we laugh and work side-by-side tearing down walls, I am overwhelmed with thankfulness that I get to live alongside such a passionate and loyal people. Sometimes I share the gospel so truly and God gives it so much power that I think my heart will never stop smiling.
But the fact remains… we need Jesus. We are lost without Him. And on the transverse, if we are with Him, then there are no wrong turns. We can trust Him. We can cast all our cares upon Him. We can stop worrying about our lives and give ourselves away. And that brings freedom. And freedom… well… it is something amazing.
I don’t really know how to end this thing. I don’t really have a point. I guess I just wanted to say that I am glad Jesus loves me. I am glad Jesus loves US. And no matter what happens, and how our role in His story ends…. I am glad to be a part of it.