“After I had listened intently to the lessons He was trying to teach me, that’s when I heard Him ask me, “Heidi, how much do you love Me?” It sounded very much like the conversation Jesus had with Simon in John 21:15-17, “Do you love Me?” I, like Simon, was grieved that the Lord even had to ask me that piercing question. “Of course, I love You, Lord! With all my heart, I love You.”
He then asked me, “So, wherein do you find your greatest joy and fulfillment, Heidi? When you successfully keep yourself from sinning in one scenario or another? Is that when you find yourself beaming with pride at your own righteousness? Or do you love Me more when My righteousness washes you clean in spite of all your own efforts?”
“Oh, it is You, Lord! I am sick with shame from my own unrighteousness. I can’t even lift my head in the morning. Only Your constant and loving assurances of forgiveness, mercy and grace can lift away the shame and self-hate. With You, I feel cherished and I don’t feel like I have to hopelessly display some form of righteousness to try to earn favor from You.”
Remember when Mary came to the tomb and discovered it was empty and she despaired, telling Whom she thought was the gardener, that someone had stolen Jesus’ body in John 20:14-16 (NASB)?
“When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means, Teacher).”
The following is something my husband wrote many years ago in his own Bible study notes:
“Here is that moment when you have been struggling through very difficult circumstances when suddenly, the Lord speaks to you in such a way that you finally recognize that it has been He that you have been dealing with all along. There is something about learning to see Him in the affairs of life. There is something greater still about that moment when HE says your name and you finally see HIM. In Mary’s case, the last person she expected to see was Jesus, Whom she had just literally watched die in front of her very eyes, standing now in her presence, very much alive.
“What seemed to add insult to injury was that after evil men had slain her beloved Master, now they had taken His body away, as well. It probably didn’t seem that God could possibly be in this situation. How could it get any worse? The fact that this seemed to be a decidedly God-less situation, blinded her eyes to the reality that God was actually in it. This was actually God’s plan for all of eternity. Finally, when He deemed her ready to see it, HE called her name. Then, she recognized Him standing right in front of her!”Bill Austel, Personal Bible Study Notes, (unpublished), July 2014.
When I finally recognized that God was in all my questions, all the angst, all the struggles to find my righteousness in myself, and discovered that it was He that had helped me find my way off of my perceived, righteousness hamster wheel, that is when I heard the “voice” of Jesus, lovingly and tenderly utter my name, “Heidi.” I could finally lift my head and bear up under this depression because Jesus had been with me through all of the turmoil and the garbage truck of lies that ravaged my mind and my soul.
He gave me the confidence that my sins were forgiven and that He looked upon me with a sincere, compassionate tenderness (not pity) that longed for me to find Him in the journey, not in my eternal goodness. Sure, I had the eternal “get out of jail free” card! I could never be unforgiven for my wretchedness! There was never any unrighteousness that poured out of my depraved soul that wasn’t already forgiven. And with that hope and confidence, I believed I could bear whatever this terrible illness threw at me because Jesus spoke tenderness to me when He called my name.”
This has been an excerpt from my book, Discovering God’s Grace in Depression. Chapter 15.
When I heard the voice of Jesus, lovingly and tenderly utter my name, “Heidi,” I could finally lift my head and bear up under my depression because Jesus had been with me through all of the turmoil and the garbage truck of lies that ravaged my mind and my soul.Tweet