Chapter 2: I See You

The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Luke 22:61 (NIV) The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry; Psalm 34:15 (NIV) …Whoever has seen me has seen the Father…John 14:9 (ESV)

Recently, I opened Dr Paul Brand’s book Fearfully and Wonderfully: The Marvel of Bearing God’s Image (Kindle location 1213) to read further and found these words:

‘My son,’ she said, ‘I thought I knew you, but today I see you.’

And I wept, as I saw my dying mother turn toward my little brother and see the face of Christ in him. I didn’t notice this until a year after I buried my Mum, but the Holy Spirit did not just fall upon me to open my eyes to see, but upon my mother too.

No, she hadn’t become a Prodigal like me, but as with every single one of us, until we enter heaven’s gates, she saw but in part, what we will all see in full when Christ is revealed. And as those gates of heaven were being opened to her, her eyes suddenly beheld the face of Christ where she hadn’t been able to see Him before.

As my Mum’s own prefrontal cortex stopped functioning as it should, the evil cancer sent to hurt her became a gift in disguise from her Heavenly Father. For, my Mum literally joined Jesus in His suffering for His Body, as she bore the same wounding my little adopted brother had as a child. Wounding from being separated from his birth family and placed in a Romanian orphanage at only a few days old, until he was fifteen months old. Now as she bore the scars of Jesus too, she no longer condemned my brother in his rebellion, as she had all those years before when she physically punished him, but she wept for him. She wept in compassion, a word that literally means to suffer with.

But what I didn’t realize until a year later, is that Jesus was in fact turning not just to my little brother through my Mum, but also to me, to say: “I see you.” And He was reminding me of what He had said to the disciples on the eve of their own scattering and turning away in fear and/or condemnation (John 13:7, ESV):

“What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”

For, suddenly I began to see and understand what He was doing more than twenty years earlier. All those years before, on the eve of my Prodigal departure, when I had lifted my cries and tears to my God, thumbing the pages of His Word, believing He had turned His face away from me and from my little traumatized adopted brother.

I believed that even as I had obeyed His prompting to open my mouth and speak up for my little brother who couldn’t speak for himself, my God had chosen to look away. For, my parents continued to physically punish this little child, whose heart I heard crying out for the love, compassion and mercy of our God.

But all along Jesus was looking straight at my little brother, at my parents and at me: not to condemn us in our distrust, pride, unbelief and idolatry, but to remind each one of us that He sees the righteous and is attentive to their cries. For our Heavenly Father saw to the heart of His beloved children: to the righteous love of His own beloved Son that He had shed abroad into our hearts, by His Holy Spirit, so long before. And to our deep deep yearning – a yearning planted in us by Him – to know Him in His death and resurrection. And He waited patiently for His heart to be unfolded in us, for us to be made One in Him and His suffering.

And that’s why Jesus also turned toward Peter that day so long ago, not to accuse him in his three denials, as Peter thought, when he turned away to weep his bitter tears at his failings. No! But Jesus only ever looked upon His precious friend to gently convict him, not just of his sin, but also of the glorious righteousness of God that was already his (John 15:3, ESV):

Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

A righteousness and holiness and clean heart of Jesus that tethered Peter to the grace of God through his many failings, sanctifying him to walk into the good works that were prepared in advance for Peter to walk into. Good works that could only unfold in and through Peter in his repeated humbling and ever deeper rooting in the good soil of His Savior’s love for him and each one of His sheep and lambs. An ever deeper humbling and rooting Jesus began in my parents and in me, the day He sent my little brother to us.

When Peter, my parents, my brother and I turned away in our sin, our Papa did not abandon us. For, He never saw it as our responsibility to complete what He had begun in us. No, rather, He sent His very own Son to die a cruel death upon a Cross to lift away the much too heavy burden of responsibility from our own shoulders to place it upon Jesus instead. Or as 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) puts it:

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Note that Word: “become”. Just as to “prove” ourselves doers of the Word can in fact also be translated as “to emerge, become, come to know”. For, ultimately when we give our lives to Jesus, it is no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us and therefore JESUS will prove Himself in each one of us, in His timing, His Way and His purposes for us and His whole Body.

He sanctifies each one of us, joining us together as One, that we might come to know Him more and more. So, that when Jesus looks us in the face, we no longer turn away to weep bitter tears in our pride and self-condemnation, or pierce Him in our pride and idolatry, but look full into His wonderful face. So, that in beholding Him the veil covering our faces is lifted away, that we might see our Jesus for who He truly is.

So that rather than punishing each other, believing it our job to change each others’ hearts using the weapon of fear or other man-made methods, or running away from our own failings, pain and inability to change each others’ hearts, we are able to receive the mercy of Jesus. A mercy that proves God’s steadfast love and faithfulness to us all, as He restores us unto Himself and sends us out to love and feed His sheep and lambs.

So that when He looks us in the eyes to say, “I see you.” We can then say: “I see you too, Jesus. I see you too, where I never have before.”

Yes, I am ·sure [convinced] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor ·ruling spirits [or heavenly rulers; or demons;rulers; principalities], nothing ·now [in the present], nothing in the future, no ·powers [or spiritual powers/authorities], ·nothing above us [or no powers in the sky], ·nothing below us [or nor powers in the depths], nor ·anything else in the whole world [any created thing] will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 EXP

Now he must leave her for a long time. Her silent love flowed out to him, comforting and strengthening him. p.37, Star of Light by Patricia St. John

Celebrate Jesus and Behold Him Face to Face

Do you remember the day you gave your heart to the LORD? Recall the joy of this day. Recall the Promise of this day.  

Before we rest in today’s Scripture together, can you take a moment with me, to look full into our Savior’s wonderful face and praise Him for opening our hearts to repent of our sins and receive His grace all those years ago?

Now, let’s ask the LORD to speak to us from the birthing of this joy of salvation in us and His Promise to us so long ago, as we read the Scripture below (1 Corinthians 12: 12 – 27, ESV), aloud.

What Word or phrase lingers? Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to reveal why it lingers and what God our Father wants us to see, know or do in response to His Word to us.

Papa open the eyes of our hearts today to see you and receive you in each other, just as you have again and again turned toward us to say: I see you.” too. Humble us and root us ever more deeply in Your love for us and Your whole Body.

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 

2 thoughts on “Chapter 2: I See You

  1. Bettie G February 19, 2022 / 8:47 pm

    Oh what an amazing gift of His grace to be able to look up to Jesus, and to ask that He would open our eyes to see as He does. Thank you for sharing about the gifts He blessed you and your Mum and your family with. Lord, keep softening and opening my own heart too.

    Like

    • Anna Smit February 19, 2022 / 11:29 pm

      Amen: what an amazing gift. Yes, LORD, I join Bettie in asking You to keep softening and opening my heart also.

      Like

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