Sometimes I wonder what God sees when he looks at us. I was asking Him that question today as I was limping through my run. Coming back from an injury is so frustratingly slow and painful, but the pain drives me to focus my mind on Christ. It was while I was replaying today's services in my head so that I could tolerate the pain, that God answered that question for me. I was so surprised, and then amazed and humbled by the beauty He revealed.
The services today at The Crossroads were amazing. It was all beautiful, whether I think through Shawn's sermon about grace, or the congregation singing, "Grace like rain, it falls down on me," and rain starting to hit the roof as we sang, or the children's excitement about their worship and lesson. But none of those things came to my mind as I was running today.
At The Crossroads today we took communion. Many new friends were taking communion with us today for the first time. As Shawn talked about the significance of the elements, I stood on stage, emotionally watching our congregation come forward to pick up their bread and juice. The line stretched out and around the chairs and went on and on. But I sensed that there was even more beauty to the moment than I was grasping. But I did not understand until just a few moments ago.
I was listening to Leeland, "Tears of the Saints," as I rounded mile number 2. Most of it was walking, I was just slowly jogging short bursts to try to rebuild my stamina. Then God started answering my question about what He sees when He looks at us. (click the link to give the song a listen, so you can immerse yourself into my head and relive the moment with me.)
As I was limping and listening, God showed me the beauty from the morning. The people filing by the table picking up the bread and the juice, many of them are new to Christianity, or have returned to their faith after years and years away from church. Most of them have experienced unbelievable, agonizing pain in their lives - whether through an addiction, abuse, failed marriages, or a myriad of other disappointments. Many of them were badly burned at some point by a church in their past and attending The Crossroads is their first step toward seeking healing.
As I was limping through a turn on my route, I realized that most of them are limping too. Some of them are just slightly gimpy legged, (like me running), but some of them are using canes, some walkers, and some are in emotional wheelchairs, being pushed forward by their encouraging friends. But all of them are walking forward, many for the first time in many years, all in stages of healing from their wounds and their past. I realized that when God watched our services this morning, He saw people who were once crippled -walk; and people who were once blind -see; and people who were once deaf - hear. God saw people walking forward in their lives, away from the darkness in their past, and into the light of His presence. And He rejoiced. God delights in watching His people seek Him. He loves to help us discover His heart.
When Jesus healed the lame, they got up and danced. It was a very visible outward change. I realized today that many of our people are being healed in ways just as real, but because we cannot see manifestations in the physical realm, we forget to give God the glory that He deserves. This afternoon as I was running, I was reminded that God needed some praise for the healing He is doing in lives at The Crossroads. Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful!