In the last few weeks God has been asking me to become smaller, weaker, more dependent on Him (Matthew 18: 3), more to be provided for than to provide (Matthew 6: 32), to be a son more than a father (Matthew 6, 8). Jesus has asked me to follow Him without holding back (Luke 9: 62), asked me for more prayer (I Thesalonians 5:17), shown me the value of the cross (I Corinthians 1:18), broken me under its weight (2 Corinthians 4:8), climbed upon it to be near me in my suffering (Is 63:9). The other day I had a vision that Jesus was looking up at me as I hung on the cross looking down on Him. He was faithfully standing at the foot of my cross. I told Him that this cross was too much for me, I told Him He wasn’t doing enough. I asked Him to take me down and heal me. Then I experienced Him climbing up and laying inside me and feeling my pain, feeling my suffering. He was not interested in taking it away, He knew it was too vital, too important to allow me to get off the cross but He didn’t leave me alone. He was crucified yet again except this time upon my own cross. I feel the words of St. Paul ringing inside me, “I have been crucified with Christ.” (Gal 2:20) This is His divine generosity. He not only died to set us free from sin and death but continues to suffer and die in each of us in the measure we allow Him to. The miracle is that He wants to suffer in you and me. He never runs from our pain but begs to partake of it, to redeem it, to quench its flame in the healing water that pouts from His side. Indeed there is no suffering in this world of which He does not partake.
He has told me that I am His not my own (I Corinthians 6:20), my son was His not my own. Nothing is my own, not even my cross (Job 1:21). All I have to give Him is my willingness to carry it and follow Him (Luke 9:23). This is my greatest work, my greatest mission. To embrace the cross, to feel it crush me and change me. And in the brokenness there is strength (Romans 5:3), there one finds joy in the midst of pain and one’s light burns brighter in the oil of suffering.
He has shown me that all is gift. He is gift. I am gift. Even my name Jonathan, as my mom often reminds me, means “God has given” or “Gift of God.” I am my beloveds and He is mine. His cross is mine and mine is His. I have discovered the great generosity of Jesus. I want this generosity. I want to partake of the suffering of the world and bring my sweet Jesus near and place Him in the wounds of the world. I want to drink the cup of His suffering, to bathe in it. Let it make me more gentle and meek like Him.
You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand has supported me;
your gentleness has made me great.
I never prayed for gentleness before our time in missions and yet now I desire it more than any other virtue.
Let me joyfully accept the weaknesses of others and more importantly and more difficult, let me accept my own weaknesses. For my weakness is an invitation to You to enter my life and be the strength of my life. What could I possible do without You? You are my motivation. You are my everything. In pain, in joy,
You are in me and I in You.