I heard a story once that caused me to think more deeply about Gods love. It has been years now since I heard it but it is a true story of a minister, a pastor, who was married and had a family. If you have ever been in ministry for any length of time, it can become quite intense. Today I am told that in America, many in ministry are abandoning their pulpits for various reasons but that is not the focus of this story.
The pastor we are talking about simply burned out, could not function any more and pretty much broke down emotionally, spiritually and could not handle the stress of ministry and life period. What he did next might really surprise you. He decided to simply go away and not tell anyone. He left his family, he left the ministry and walked away from it all. He ended up living in a trailer somewhere in Alaska and that is where the story picks up.
It was cold that day and he had a stove that heated the trailer and suddenly it stopped working. Facing the reality of not having any heat to keep warm, he flew into a rage, swearing against God and blaming God for this misfortune.
“As if you did not ruin my life already and now this!”
He was furious, swearing at God, just so upset when he heard someone weeping inside the trailer. At first he thought he was mistaken as he did not hear any door open and no one was in the vicinity. The weeping continued and he glanced to his right while sitting on the couch and there was Jesus Christ sitting at the end of the couch with his hands in his face and he was weeping. He knew it was the Lord and stared incredulously at Him. Jesus took his hands from his face and turned to look at him with tears running down His face. He said,
He then looked away and put His hands over His face and cried. The minister was totally in shock. Remember, he was just swearing at God and blaming Him for the stove not working and all that had happened in his life. Jesus did not tell him that he really hurt his family, betrayed his calling, quit and not humbled himself before God and get Gods help. He did not accuse him, shame him, tell him how disappointed in him. Obviously, he knew the Bible, had a will, could make choices and how dare he swear at God, blame God, as if God was the reason for what happened in his life. Jesus simply manifested Himself in that trailer and began to weep. Through His tears, ” I understand”. That is all He said to this broken man and indeed He was broken.
There is just another realm to the depth of Gods love. I do not know what happened in this pastors life, from the womb to the moment he walked away from it all and was alone in that trailer. Jesus did not excuse his mistakes, failings, betrayals, or angry words. Just like He spoke from the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”, so to this man, “I understand”. This pastor was not even limping home like the prodigal did when the Father came running. Jesus Christ came to those needing a physician and for sure, this man needed one. The father did not ask the prodigal any questions and hushed his attempts at prayer. He was simply overjoyed to have the son in His arms, to shed hot tears over him, kiss him repeatedly, and throw a party before he took a shower.
There is a tenderness, an empathy, a beauty unparalleled in the heart of God. He does not have to wake up every day and decide to love, He is love. I share often about when Adam sinned and hid from himself by sewing leaves to cover shame, then hid from God by hiding in the bushes. And where did God show up after that? Not in the bushes but right in the garden where He was the day before where He communed with Adam. He expected Adam to be there.
He loves you in your brokenness, your confusion, your failures and why not be in His arms in your weakness, your pain, your lack, your not knowing what to do, not having it all together? There are no beams in His eyes. There is only longing, only yearning, because in Jesus He is now able to pour out all the pent up love in His being upon you and I. He waited for the day, all our sin was nailed in His Son, judged in His Son, punished in His Son so He can overwhelm up with a love we will never deserve and change us from the inside out as we accept the gift of His compassion and let Him seep down into the areas of our darkness and brokenness and heal us. He understands and wants you to know that, so you can like this pastor be touched so deeply that you can be changed so powerfully by tears that are rivers of healing to your soul.