Friday, 19 September 2014
Found in Him Chapter 1: Alone in a Crowd
How do you feel when you’re sitting in a room full of people?
Perhaps that’s the moment when you feel most alone. Some of the women at Bible study today opened up and shared about the times they feel most alone. “When I’m trying to mingle with a group, I feel awkward, easily embarrassed.” “Me, too. I’m fine when I’m home alone. That’s not when I feel isolated, it’s when I’m in a crowd of people that I feel a little lost.”
One young woman summed it up. “It’s because they don’t understand me. I have a large family that lives nearby, and we hang out a lot, but I don’t feel like they know me. They don’t get me.”
What about you? Do you feel alone as a stay-at-home mom, when you’re surrounded by toys and toddler babble? Or do you relate to the sense of alienation that can set in when you’re surrounded by familiar people in a familiar place?
Opening Up Our Hearts
As we began to open our hearts to each other at Bible study, we found out that we’re not alone. I looked around and saw women nodding, visibly encouraged to hear their struggles expressed by someone else. She understands.
During small group time I joined a group who were asked to tell how they came to faith in Christ and what their life is like right now. This deeper level of sharing was very meaningful. I realized that even though I’d spent time with these women, I really didn’t know them. Now I heard not only about their struggles, but the way Jesus had individually pursued them and found them. I saw them through his eyes. He knows her.
Then it struck me. Knowing each other and being known is a taste of the gospel. Jesus is whetting our appetite for this study.
Opening Up This Book
The big message of the book we’re studying, Found in Him: the Joy of the Incarnation and Our Union with Christ, is that Jesus came to find us. For every person who feels lost, that’s unbelievably good news. But sometimes we’re so familiar with it that it loses its punch.
I wonder if it’s because we’re not sure what he does with us after he finds us.
One of my favorite sentences in the first chapter is found on page 28 right in the middle of the page. Summing up the message of the entire Bible the author says,
It is about his determination to be in union with us.
I thought about this. Sometimes I’ll lose something valuable, like my wallet. I panic and stop everything to look for it. What do I do when I find it? I think, Whew! Now I don’t have to cancel my credit cards, and put it back in my purse. I don’t give it another thought until the next time I pull it out to pay for something. But when Jesus finds us, he makes us his Bride, to be at his side, next to his heart for all eternity.
His determination is not just to find us, but to hold us close.
Opening Up Our Bibles
That message isn’t just on the pages of the New Testament, it’s the message of the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Let’s join two disciples trudging slowly from Jerusalem to Emmaus just three days after the Crucifixion (Luke 24:13-32).
Their shoulders droop and their feet seem heavy. They’re talking, but one of them keeps shaking his head and stopping in mid-sentence. A third traveler joins them. “What are you talking about?”
That stops them in their tracks. Their faces, animated by the walk and the conversation, melt into sadness. “What? You don’t know? You must be the only one in the country who hasn’t heard what just happened in Jerusalem.” They tell this stranger about Jesus, the prophet they’d hoped was the Messiah. Their voices sink as they tell what happened to him, how he was delivered, condemned, and then…the word sticks in their throats…crucified.
The stranger hears them out. The cross, the tomb, the despair, and then the mysterious disappearance of the body. Women! Who can trust them! Alive? You’ve got to be kidding!
Then he floors them. He bursts out, not with grief or puzzlement, but with a jolly rebuke! Don’t you get it? The Christ had to suffer! Here, let me show you.
Their hearts begin to burn as he walks and talks with them about the Scriptures in a way they’d never heard before, every chapter about Messiah, every page about Jesus. Over dinner he opens their eyes to see him, right there, Jesus himself, alive and laughing!
How often is my head hanging down in sadness because I don’t realize the resurrected Savior is right here with me?
Jesus is here. It’s the Word of God opened to us by the Holy Spirit that will show us.