Here follows an excerpt from a fictional piece of writing of mine, an effort trying to express what my heart transformation would look like if it had happened in a single moment, and not over time. Pretend you’re listening with this girl to another sermon, but this one falls on her heart quite differently.
“It’s only a verse or two in the book of Matthew, but Jesus mentions this pearl of great value that was bought at a great price. It took everything he had, but the merchant could do nothing less. This is a story of endings and beginnings. Can you hear Jesus telling this story to his disciples, long ago in a land very different from here? Can you just imagine him thinking of his destiny, that the Father was sending all he had,” the voice of the speaker breaks on the words, “to ransom his people, his precious children?”
She’s unravelling a little, her heart moved by the story and my own heart follows. It’s like she’s heard the doubts I’ve been unable to contain, the questions I’ve been unable to voice, the hope I’ve been unable to stifle.
“Or do you hear the challenge in his voice, when he looks at his followers and knows that the only way they can truly follow him is to leave everything behind, their past and their sin and their very selves, to gain the Kingdom.”
How does this woman know my heart? I wonder.
It is I that know you.
Who are you? I ask.
A powerful silence fills my mind. But it isn’t quiet. It rings with authority. It sings with beauty. It echoes endlessly in living stillness.
Who are you? I ask again.
The answer settles deep within. Breathing underwater is impossible, but like stagger breathing in a choir, that’s what saves your life.
I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.
Can a man be those things? I ask myself, as the words of Handel’s Messiah spring to mind. His yoke is easy, his burden is light. It ends the first movement. I never quite understood the song and the shift, away from the light rhythms and the endless passagework of sixteenth notes to the doom and gloom that follows. I always wondered why the ease and lightness was embodied with such musical finesse just before introducing the Lamb of God and his suffering.
Now, I know.
It’s because he took up the cross that it is easy for me. He was broken, I can be remade. My burden won’t condemn me and bring me down. Now, it’s up to me to pick it up and follow him.
Tears are spilling down my cheeks, but I don’t care. The prayer is over, and music starts playing and people are clapping and I sit, finally understanding the words I sang so blindly.
And with the satisfaction required, my soul is released and alive, submitted to Jesus. The Man deserving of my trust, my devotion, my love. He came to my rescue when it felt like traitorous seas would keep me forever.
The tension is gone. It doesn’t even surprise me when the worship team begins to sing Amazing Grace one more time and I finally find my voice.
Resolution never sounded so beautiful.