Imagine a man who had walked this earth for 33 years. He was in his prime, yet there was a nagging sense that his time was up. He’d fed 15,000 people with just five loaves of bread and two fish, turned water into wine (yay), healed a blind man, helped a cripple walk. He took in a murderer, liar, teenager as his students, among others.
And yet, one day He hung upon a cross. Nails driven into his hand. Blood dripping, everywhere while what must have felt like the whole world looked on, mocking.
“It is finished!” He declared.
A bloodied image of a man who seemed to have fallen from grace. Wearing a crown of thorns on the day he died, he knew this was what love looked like.
Love is war.
I’ve been thinking a lot about choices lately. Maybe it has something to do with turning 26; all of a sudden life isn’t about the next travel destination or big night out. All of a sudden I’ve become more conscious that every step I take really does have a consequence that could have a ripple effect.
This Christianity thing, which seemed kind of cool a decade ago, has taken me on quite the adventure. It railroaded my original career plan (I’d wanted to be a real-life Elle Woods), it took me to Australia, and it’s led me to meet incredible people whom I’m proud to call my friends and family.
There’s a famous saying in the Bible that goes something like this: If you lose your life, you’ll gain it and vice versa. I never quite got the gravity of that statement, since really – if this is my life, then I want some control, thankyouverymuch. I’d like to know where I’m going, and why. And I’d sure like to choose.
And so God sometimes became an option. Maybe I’ll go to church and not cell group, because that’s okay – and nobody ever made cell group attendance a rule. Maybe I’ll swear a little (maybe a lot) and that’s all good – Jesus used strong language back in the day, too.
I picked and chose my own version of Christianity – of life, if you will. Kind of like the pick-and-mix gummies we could buy as kids. Choose the gummies you like and leave the ones you don’t like aside. Voila – you get the best of everything.
I wonder if you’ve ever been at a crossroads. Where all of a sudden all the choices you’ve been seemed devoid of meaning, and yet the next step you take could determine everything. It’ll define who you are, what you do.
The gravity of it weighs on your shoulders. It is not lost on you, and yet a part of you wants to go: “F#$% it.”
Maybe it was a marriage proposal. Or a job. Or something else altogether. But you stood there, paralysed, wishing and hoping for some sort of answer to fall out from the sky.
C.S. Lewis once said: “One road leads home and a thousand roads lead into the wilderness.”
I look around and wonder if this is home. It doesn’t particularly feel like it. Bombs go off, people die in rail accidents, life goes on. My bed is comfortable enough, and I’ve found a home in the comfort of family, and a well-made flat white. But there’s a nagging sense that there must be more than this, more than what I’ve been given so far – in spite of a great life that’s been laid out for me.
The Bible is full of promises that everyone wants with no conditions attached. When that 33-year-old man died he promised the world that they could live life to the full, if only they choose Him first. That’s the only catch. But for many, it’s too much. And I get it.
What does living life to the full really mean?
It’s anyone’s guess, really. But my take: It’s waking up knowing there’s a reason that all your dreams come alive. It’s understanding that despite walking through the darkness of life you will not be crushed. It’s being able to access joy even when the world is crumbling.
It’s knowing that home isn’t just a place or a feeling.
The beauty of Christianity is this: It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’ve come from, or what you’ve done, or how many times you’ve chosen this life only to run – the invitation stays open. He chose you, and He would keep choosing you, over and over and over.
You are, and always will be, His forever love.
The door is always open. And you’re always welcome.
Cross equals love. Love is war. Because He fought for you, with scars and cries. He fights for you, with sunsets and beauty and an everlasting love. He – Jesus – always will.