encounter.

by kelsey lasher

 

I know a man, although to call him that doesn't quite encompass Him. He's so multi-faceted and grand that I will spend my whole life pursuing Him only to find Him new, yet unchanged each day. I can say that, though. I know Him. 

My eyes don't know His face, but my heart has felt His smile. I don't know the sound of His voice, the cadence or timbre, but my spirit knows its tone -rich, big, warm, and bright like the color purple. 

I've never felt his skin, but His hands have held me fast. I've rested there in those hands for years allowing the breeze that blows through the nail holes to tickle my cheeks. 

I know this man, this Jesus. I've grown up hearing His stories. Once, He walked on water. Another time, He turned water into wine. He raised people from the dead, made a storm quite its tantrum with the sound of his voice, unfurled tangled limbs, and fed 5,000 people with a few loaves and fishes. He preached, he prayed, he wept. 

He died. 

He came back to life. 

History turns on the axis of his life, and I know Him...

He is so grand that my words can't fit around Him. They're insufficient, like a sheet of wrapping paper that's too small for its larger-than-life gift. He is so grand, though that I have to try to tell you. 

This man that I know is perfect. He is love. Fully human and fully God, and He can be known. He wants to be known by you and by me. Have I told you about the first time we met? 

I was five years old sitting in a chapel service at my school. We were singing, "There is none like you. No one else can touch my heart like you do. I could search for all eternity long and find there is none like you." 

As the song repeated, I felt something I had never known before. Someone was there with me. It was Him. His presence filled the room like the aroma of cookies baking- sweet, comforting, tantalizing, and irresistible. 

I was just a little girl, but I knew that for all of my days, I wouldn't search for anything except this man that I had encountered. I knew right then and there that the song was right. There was nothing like Him then, and there still isn't now! 

His presence is perfect, and His love looms large; large enough to cast a shadow that will fit everything else this world can offer. Nothing can eclipse Him, and nothing has.

Here we are, decades later. I've learned from knowledgeable scholars, laughed at hilarious people, fallen in love with the most amazing husband, given birth to three perfect children, traveled, shopped, read, watched, sang, danced, lived. But I know Him and none of this compares. Even my most precious people and memories stand happily in His shadow. That's how big He is. 

And I know Him. 

When I met him, I was nothing special; I had nothing special, but He introduced himself to me. He knew that I would disappoint Him, fall short, misunderstand and act selfishly, but He sought me out anyway. Because He knew that that shadow that he casts would fit all my mess too. 

There's room for yours too, you know? There's room for your mess, your baggage, your sin, whatever you want to call it. God knew that the light of His perfection couldn't coexist with the ugly truths of this world and our behavior. So, He sent His Son Jesus, this man that I'm talking about, to stand where no one else could. 

He stands tall and perfect, covering our sins with the absoluteness of His shadow. There, in the reflection of His grace, that mess can linger and wilt like a weed in the shade while light shines all around. He covers it all so that we can step out into the sunlight where He is. So we can know Him. 

I know a man named Jesus. He's my most intimate friend. He makes me happy. He knows me inside and out and has walked with me through good and bad. He has loved me deeply. Always. 

Our relationship is not about religion or rules; He can't be contained by those constructs. It's about knowing each other and loving each other. I trust Him, so I follow Him. He's proven himself time and time again. I know this man, this Jesus, and you can encounter Him too. 

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."  Revelation 3:20 NIV

You better get that. It's for you.