I have to brag. My five-year-old is a fantastic reader. Fantastic. In fact, his kindergarten class is going to be performing “The Three Piggy Opera” and Justus has landed the coveted role of “Narrator.” To prepare, we’ve been reading tons and tons of books.
Oh, alright, that’s just an excuse. We’d read tons and tons of books anyway. We practically live in the children’s section of our local Barnes and Noble. In case you mistake my tone, I say that proudly.
This morning, we were finishing off one of “The Magic Tree House Books” (which I highly recommend, by the way). In this particular chapter book, “Afternoon on the Amazon,” Jack and Annie are being chased by a rather persistent monkey. At one point, the monkey claps his hands together and screeches with laughter. As he swung away from the siblings, Justus interrupted the narrative.
“I can see it! Mom, I can see it all in my mind.”
He jumped off the couch and reenacted the scene. He scratched his pits and banged his chest. He “oo-oo’d” and “ee-ee’d.” He clapped his hands and pantomimed swinging away. If Justus is a fantastic reader, he’s a downright perfect monkey!
His enthusiasm got me thinking and the mere recollection of his declaration, “I can see it!” evokes all sorts of emotions.
Oh, how we need child-like faith!
We need to emerge from our fig tree–from our time alone with God–with the kind of faith that says,
“I’ve read it, Father, and I CAN SEE IT! You know that part, Jesus, the part where you fed the thousands with five loaves and two fish? I can see it! And that time, Lord, where you came to Peter walking on the water, the storm tossing and turning, the little boat thrashing about. I can actually see it! And what about that last night Lord? The last time you dined with your friends? Do you remember? Well, today, as I read it again, I could see it. I could see the pain on your face as you identified the one who would betray you. I could see the disbelief on Peter’s face when confronted with the truth that he’d deny you. I could see the love you had for each of them. The pain you felt at their impending loss. The love you still have for humanity.
As I read your Word, it came to life, and I could see it!
And then, Jesus, as you withdrew into the Garden to pray–as you submitted yourself to the will of the Father–I could see it. I saw the sweat, like blood, running down your face, falling to the ground. I saw your despair–your resolve–as one of your own betrayed you with a kiss. I saw you, The Prince of Peace, taken into custody. I watched as evil men lashed out, angry. I saw the self-awareness of your own humility as they turned you over to be beaten. I saw the Roman’s face as he washed his hands of the matter, as he released a murderer in your place, and your own people cried out for your crucifixion.
I saw the cross upon your back. The crown of thorns cutting into your skin. I watched as they nailed you to that tree–your hands and feet pierced for their sins. For mine. I watched as the thief begged for mercy. I saw the pain on your face, the forgiveness you extended even then.
And I cried.
For the first time in a long time, Jesus, I understood that these weren’t just verses to be read. This was your life. Is your life. This is you, here in my hands, in the form of a book. Your life. Your death. Your resurrection recorded so that I could understand. You are the Word become flesh, and today, Jesus, I can see it.”
These are the types of declarations I want to come back to. I want to dig into the Scriptures craving to see the world as Christ saw it–As He still sees it. I want to read because I’m hungry for the truth buried between the pages. I want to cry because it moves me.
But mostly, I want to jump off the couch and reenact all that His Word shows me. Not like my son. Not in a theatrical way. But, I want to love just as He loves. I want to enact that. I want to pray just as He prays. I want to forgive just as He forgives. I want to be the Christian–the Christ-follower–that I was created to be.
He’s shown me how. He’s given me the guidebook. I want to open its pages, not because I have to, but because today, like every other day, I need to see it. I need to know just how it’s done. Just how He did it.
I need to see it so I can do it too.
For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them–Acts 28:27