She throws wide the door in our office, with bags on her shoulders and a big arrangement of flowers all wrapped in plastic to keep them safe from the bitter cold outside.
… This woman with the beautiful smile and courageous spirit that I’ve had the privilege of working alongside for only mere weeks – and she thrusts the flowers and their sweet fragrance of spring that is still coming towards me with a grin. I catch a glimpse of the name on the card. My name.
“I thought you might need a little ‘pick-me-up’ this week,” she says and continues unloading her things.
…I stand there quiet holding the arrangement of purple’s and yellows, gently unwrapping the plastic that has kept them safe on their way to me. My heart is quiet, and full, and uncomfortable, and delighted all at the same time… someone with whom I have only rubbed shoulders with for such a brief time thought of me? I thank her for the third or fourth time and my words seem flat compared to the emotion in my soul. I didn’t realize that a simple gesture of kindness could stir such deep places within me.
It is only a few nights later that I sit with my broken-legged husband, snuggled close watching ‘Hacksaw Ridge.’ Silent tears stream down my cheeks as I watch in all its raw horror and glory the bond between men at war…none is there for his own gain…all for the brother beside him, and them for him. And this film based on the true life events of one Desmond T. Doss, a pacifist who refused to take life, but who willingly risked his own in order to save others… his story presses on something deep within me. In the midst of enemy territory, fighting exhaustion, fear, and trauma – he continues to push himself to the frontline of battle praying ‘Please Lord, help me get one more.’
And with my sweet husbands arms around me and holding me close, my eyes look to the arrangement of flowers in the kitchen, and my mind is ushered back a few years before when I cried out in prayer before God. I can still taste the bitter tears that came in the midst of pain and uncertainty… when anxiety and depression threatened to close in on me, and I remember between sobs uttering a deep fear that masked a holy longing.
I don’t want to be alone.
… Because even when we are surrounded we can feel utterly desolate. Pain and fear and brokenness all tempt us to build walls around our hearts like a fortress that enables us to engage with life only from the watch tower but never to enter in.
And isn’t that the one thing that all of our hearts are desperately searching for?
… to belong?
Isn’t this the very longing that Christ fulfills absolutely? He cried out in intercession on our behalf before He laid down His life for us saying,
“…I pray for those who will believe in me through [the disciples] message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent Me… may they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.”
Beloved, you belong.
(I speak this to myself today too… Lord knows this weary soul needs to hear it)
Because this life in Christ isn’t lived out individually. He is the head, and we are His body. And everyone searching for ‘something’ in this life, is really just searching to know that they belong… to feel the arms of Christ wrap round, His hands reach out, His voice whisper love, and His feet guide the way. And friends … we are those arms and hands and voices and feet.
… and sometimes we live like we are all alone in need of no one, yet desperately longing for someone.
The gift of flowers? … a simple gesture of kindness that has the power to tear down walls built up round our hearts. The kind of gesture that stirs deep longing and whispers the Truth that is often forgotten but one desperately needs to cling to.
you are seen.
you are loved.
And the prayers of that courageous soldier? … an invitation to enter in… to walk beside… to lay down our lives for the brother that walks beside and to receive the laying down of another life for us… We are not our own… but part of His glorious body. Isn’t it the same blood that pumps life through our veins?
We belong to Him.
We belong to one another.
And those who are still searching? … home is where He is, and where He is, is where we are. And His arms, hands, voice, and feet… they look an awfully lot like yours and mine.
We are the Beloved of Christ that we might Be Love to those in this world.
I pray that today you would remember that you are a member of the body of Jesus.
Go therefore and give yourself away today in love to the brother next to you… and may we echo the prayer of Desmond T. Doss… “Please Lord, help me get [help me love… help me give grace… help me reach] one more.” …. that we might all know what it is like to truly be home.
— Jalene Elsa