In the best possible way, Jesus has been wrecking me lately.
I am not someone who usually cries at the drop of a hat. I’m the kind of person who will bite the inside of my cheek before I let a tear fall willfully, and I especially don’t like others to witness me crying.
But lately, I’ve been getting emotional multiple times a day. It’s not because of sadness, grief, or even anger. They are tears of awe.
I’ve been focusing on the character of Jesus, and every time He blows me away. His compassion, His grace, His love. Every time I read about His actions, about how He defended the people around Him, about how much they loved Him, I find tears filling my eyes.
My family went to church every Sunday. I don’t remember when I accepted Jesus, to be honest I don’t remember ever not knowing Him. This is also a gift I can’t fathom: I’ve never not known the love of Jesus. Yet a lifetime in the church affected the way I read scripture.
Growing up, I heard all the stories and heard them many times. I had a New King James Bible, and struggled to connect with the language. I never wanted to read my Bible because it felt like a maze to navigate. It was hard enough to discern the meaning behind the passage without having to look up the meaning of the words.
I was the same way with classic literature. Books like Pride and Prejudice and Little Women didn’t captivate me. But then I saw the movies. Pride and Prejudice (2005 version of course) and Little Women (2019) are two of my favorite movies. Their stories and characters stirred something in me. And when I reread the books after the movies, I absolutely loved them. Weird, I know, it’s usually the other way around.
I found this to be true in my faith as well. I met people who were on fire for Jesus, living their whole lives for Him, and was inspired. I encountered women who had every reason to be defeated and angry praise God with nothing but pure joy and love. I heard His voice during prayer. I watched The Chosen, a tv show about Jesus and His disciples, and saw His character come to life–saw the pure love in His eyes.
My relationship with Jesus became so much more real in these tangible interactions. I saw Him in the people around me and began to understand the depths of His character.
Once you begin to live out your faith, and see others do the same, Jesus becomes so much more tangible. Yes He is in the words of the Bible, but He’s also in nature, in your fellow believers, in the quiet of your mornings.
If you’re struggling to meet Jesus in the pages of the Bible, don’t give up. Find a translation you can understand and keep at it. But don’t limit Him to those pages–look for Him in your every day. He promises us that He’s there:
“…And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20