“Just as I am – without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
-Oh Lamb of God, I come.”
Just as I am
Just as I AM
Flawed, broken, imperfect
Yet complete in You-
Perfect, healed, whole
How can this be?
How can both be true?
How can I so fully experience…
The pain of fallen humanity,
and the glory of resurrection life?
Small and broken-
Just as I am
Restored and glorious-
Just as I AM
-Oh Lamb of God, I come
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.-Rom. 8:18
Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. – Col. 3:2-4
Christ in you, the hope of glory. -Col.1:27b
I’ve continued to ponder some of the things I wrote about in last week’s “spontaneous devotion.” I so love the absolute freedom to come to to God just as we are. But as I wrote down the words “just as I am” again today, I saw yet another paradox: I don’t only come just as I am – I come just as I AM. I don’t just come in my human brokenness – I come hidden in the riches of Christ. I don’t just come in my weakness – I come clothed in his strength. I don’t just come in my humanity – I come as a co-heir with Christ. When we see him, we will be like him. We are hidden in Christ. Christ in us is the hope of glory.
And yet … there is still pain. There is still failure. There are still disappointments and delays. There is still weakness, and, heaven knows, there is still weariness. I don’t think I have ever been as keenly aware of the “in between” as I have been in recent times. I have been in a rough space far more often than I’d care to admit lately. I don’t know that I have ever felt such a cumulative effect of exhaustion and weariness. Many things have been perplexing and disheartening. Anyone who claims that, as believers in Jesus, we should never experiences these things is either flat-out deluded or living in a la-la land of denial.
But (don’t you just love that in God, there is always a but?) the very real pain and challenges of this present age don’t, in any way, diminish the superior reality we are able to apprehend right now through our present tense access to his presence.
The other side of my personal reality, or paradox, is that while I have been SO keenly aware of my own brokenness, I have also never felt more secure in him. I have never felt more accepted by him, or cared for, or cherished.
I have never been more keenly aware of his unfailing love.
I’ve never felt more secure in the depth of my relationship with him. I’m secure simply because my relationship with him is R.E.A.L.
It’s not based on phony religious piety. It’s not based on good deeds or any other type of performance. It’s not based on what other people think. It’s not based on what does and doesn’t happen. It is based in honesty. It is based in openness. It is based in freedom. It is based on who he is–and not what I’m not. And he IS Love. There is NO fear in love, so I know no fear in coming to him–ever. I’m never afraid of being where I am with him. Because regardless of where I am in my very real emotions and in my day-to-day experiences, he always knows where I really am…
So just as I am- and – just as I AM…
NOTE: Aeron painted the picture in this post at a live worship event a month or two ago. When we allow God to meet us where we are, he makes something beautiful out of our darkest places–as Song of Songs 1:5 says, we are “Dark, yet lovely.”