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Archive for February, 2013

Vulnerablility

A policeman without his bullet-proof vest feels vulnerable. A skirt-clad lady in a strong wind feels vulnerable. A mourning dove with its nest on the ground must feel somewhat vulnerable.

I’ve made myself vulnerable before, because I knew that many wise people say we must let down our barriers in order to overcome certain issues. I confessed a mortal weakness to a minister in front of a crowd of Full Gospel Businessmen and asked for prayer. I told an elderly lady I needed prayer because I hated someone. I sat before men as an experiment in inner healing and watched them chart details about my upbringing and complex family relationships, then brush their spiritual hands in victory and leave me like so many loose stripped electric wires, raw and zuhhhz-ing to the touch.

All those things which I thought were vulnerabilities faded when I read Isaiah 53 again today. The prophet looked seven hundred years into the future at true vulnerability. The Messiah, Christ, was to be marred beyond recognition, receive wounds for the sake of the whole world, be publicly punished for the wrongs of his malefactors and their progeny, be falsely called a transgressor, and in the face of all this, maintain complete silence–defenseless as a lamb.

That would have been enough to qualify him as the most vulnerable person who ever lived, aside from the fact that he came into the world as an utterly helpless infant, whose very life was endangered by a barbaric dictator. But that was not enough vulnerability, exposure, and weakness for the Savior. His clothing was seen as barter, a serendipitous prize in a game of dice. So, before gawkers and mockers, he died naked–the ultimate in vulnerability.

He was wounded for our transgressions, lashed for our healing, beaten to a pulp for our peace with God, and died for our sinfulness. His nakedness was not morally necessary for our salvation, so why did it happen?

I would dare say that few of us have been naked before a crowd, especially outdoors, and on a hilltop to boot. Far fewer of us have been punished in the nude. Our vulnerability ends where divine shame begins. For only One died naked for the secretly sequestered, godlessly garbed, and cowardly covered sins of a proud world. The disrobing of God extended even into the most holy place as the curtain was violently torn away to expose wholesale mercy.

No one can ever assert or even hint that the Son of God did not go the extra mile in humiliation.

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Guys, what if you heard there was a girl waiting for you outside and she was the girl of your dreams and destiny? Seems idealistic, but what would you do to find out if this were true?  Would you ask to first see her birth certificate, a map of her DNA or her fingerprints? Or would you run outside to look at her lovely smiling face, brush the hair away from her forehead, get close enough to smell her perfume, and ask her for a dance?

Girls, what if you got a message that the perfect, good-looking guy of your dreams was in the mall parking looking for you? Would you ask that he first text you a copy of his driver’s license or social security number, or maybe his police record? Or would you want him walk confidently into the department store, take both your hands, look longingly into your eyes and softly whisper your name?

Of course we wouldn’t do any of those legal things. We would simply want to meet our potential partner. I am married and I know my wife so well. But I don’t know her because I’ve proved her existence by forensics or legality. We can’t even find our marriage license! I know her because we have a relationship.

It’s the same way with God. We pretend we want proofs of his existence, while he simply wants us to walk from the darkness of doubt out into the sunshine of invitation and meet him. It’s really a cop-out when we ask for something like his signature across the sky, or demand he justify his commandments or defend his actions throughout history.

God doesn’t have to show his fingerprints or nailprints, or his Divinity license to every generation. He proves himself like a sweetheart does—through relationship. Rev 3:20 Look! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door of their heart, I will come in, and we will share deep friendship together.”

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