I was listening to “By and By” by Phil Zito’s band on the way home. (But of course, as the jazz nerd that I am, I was listening to a transfer that I made myself from the original 78 with my Crosley USB turntable.)
Almost the entire time the song was playing in my car, I cried. I’ve been fairly emotional for the past few days. I think it’s due largely to the overwhelming support I’ve had from guys I have class with.
In the course of a conversation I had the other night with two awesome friends, I disclosed that there are things I won’t even post here about myself…things that I suspect that if my closest friends knew, they would disown me…or at least keep their distance. In my mind, if I’m a window that my seminary brothers can look through to help minister to people who wrestle with homosexuality (or even those who fully embrace it), then that’s great.
Maybe even if they know me as someone who is lonely from time to time, then that’s a little more risky…but as long as I spread out my expectations of who I want to hang out with, people won’t tire of me and my seemingly endless loneliness. It might even get to the point where someone might offer me a hug, which of course means a lot, but isn’t something I readily ask for.
But when I stop being a window and start being someone who is real flesh-and-blood who crushes on people, finds them attractive…then what? Will people still love me?
The answer from these two guys was a resounding “yes.” And I’m not sure I know how to take a “yes.” I know what it’s like to get a loud “no.” But a yes? Still kind of confused as to how to get on board with that. A great problem to have, no?
So why was I crying? One of the reasons is that I’m emotionally exhausted from the past week. It was a very difficult week in terms of trying to get things done for school. I had a rough week of fighting sin (and the mind is always the loudest battleground, right?) and in the conversation I told folks that sometimes I just want to meet Jesus. I don’t want to send myself there (so nobody panic), but some days I just yearn to see the face of my Savior and hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Maybe this sounds trite to the blog reader…but it’s not a Christian euphemism for me at all. Regardless of the rest of the song, Scripture tells us we will indeed understand it better by and by. We won’t be omniscient, but we’ll be able to see redemptive history in retrospect (at least the period of time we’re currently in) and be able to, with bodies free forever from temptation, worship the risen Christ.
But as for now, I can offer my tears and my actions and my worship with a body which is being redeemed and is, because of Christ, unstained with sin from the perspective of God. My sin has been laid on Christ and His righteousness on me.
So why does it still hurt?
Because we’re in the already-not yet phase of history. But the Gospel is that my redemption is secure, even if temptation still bombards me.
And by God’s grace, when I see his face, I will hate my sin completely and will have what the psalmist prayed for: the fear of the Lord from an undivided heart.
Come, Lord Jesus.