Growing up as an MK in South America, we would frequently sleep outdoors, many times down by the river. For fun. Without a tent, tarp, or anything other than our sleeping bags and whatever we needed to make breakfast in the a.m. (and yes, this WAS fun!)
One thing that I still remember from those sleep-outs is the way the air feels in the morning. The sky is gray and quiet, the only sounds are the flowing river and chirping birds. Everything feels damp. And everything feels chilly.
The first person up starts the fire. Slowly, but surely, a flame is coaxed out of the twigs, leaves and bits of wood we’ve collected. Soon enough, the delicious smell of smoke is filling the air, the crackling fire begins to warm up the little circle of people huddled around it. Comfort.
I think now of another early morning. I imagine the sky is gray and quiet. This time, I am on a lakeshore. I hear the lapping of water against the gravelly sand of the beach. The scent of smoke scents the damp, morning air. My eyes are drawn to the dancing flames of a small, crackling fire and in the dim first light of day, I see Him.
He’s kneeling there, His hands cupped to catch the warmth. Comfort.
He looks up. Our eyes meet. In that instant, I know.
He knows…everything. Absolutely everything.
His gaze pierces my soul. It hurts.
Tears fill my eyes. I feel like my heart is going to burst.
What I see in His eyes is not condemnation, but love.
His eyes are filled with love…for me.
Wonder of all wonders.
The One who has absolutely every right to condemn me chooses instead to love me.
“Do you love me?” He says.
“Yes, Lord,” I reply, “I love you.”
As I’ve spent time considering Peter over these past few weeks, I have so often put myself in his shoes, feeling the burden of knowing the ways in which I’ve betrayed the One who shed His blood for me. Oh, the guilt!
And then, I turn my eyes upon Jesus, and I look full in His wonderful face. And indeed, everything fades away but the the overwhelming power of His beautiful, glorious, marvelous, amazing grace.
I don’t want to take His precious blood for granted. I want to look at Him and see my sin for what it is. Every single time I sin…I trod carelessly over His spilt blood.
Precious Jesus, please forgive me. Make me ever aware of Your sacrifice. And although, I don’t deserve it~most definitely not~I am incredibly and forever grateful that You choose to look at me with eyes of love. I want that love to change me, to make me a woman that loves and follows you. Wherever you may lead. I know that there will be trials, hard moments and painful moments. In those times, there is a special place in my spirit where I will go. It will be early morning, the air damp and chilly. I will be walking near the water’s edge, and I will catch the comforting scent of burning wood. I look up and a short way off, there is a small, crackling fire. My heart skips a beat…I look for You, and when our eyes meet…You smile.