We stood looking out into the golden setting sun – barely past our twentieth birthdays – our lives like spanned horizons themselves, waiting for dawning colors.
“Unnecessary beauty,” I said. “He could have made the whole thing black and white! Yet for love, He does this every day!” Looking on with agreement, he added the question of “Why? Why are we living now, now and not centuries ago? Now and not when the disciples did? Now, so close to His return?” Urgency hung on beneath his words like heavy weight – the kind that sinks the anchor (Heb. 6:19; Titus 2:13).
And already the two fuels of the scandalous love of Jesus and the sobriety of the hour we were living in were simultaneously being poured upon the fires of our young hearts…making us stand taller for the dignity of it all.
I’d really only just met him, then. But that was the moment we go back to if we had to pinpoint when we “fell in love.” And perhaps, if we had to pinpoint the undergirding source for the binding of our hearts it would be these two fuels – love and noble cause – the burnings that made strangers feel like longest friends…and where the fires of friendship have burned long, ever since.
Epic Story and Scandalous Love
There’s something about finding out you’re in the middle of an epic story with a role to play that turns the shades of greyed monotony to vibrant color. There’s something about finding out the great Someone at the center of the Story has desire and deep emotions in His heart – that He’s greatly moved by your choices and your love for Him – that makes commoners arise to royalty and children stand tall and live heroically (Heb. 6:10).
Perhaps C.S. Lewis had these two fueling agents in mind when he crafted the story of Narnia, starring four common children that suddenly found out they were kings and queens. After that, they were never the same.
Love and noble cause pull upon the longings of the human heart like nothing else. These inescapable yearnings remain unquenched except in the One who Authored the great Story. He knows the longings within us well, for it was His own hand and word that fashioned them. And He knows how they’re answered.
We were actually made for epic, not monotony. (And sometimes we just need eyes to see the grand reality of our everyday lives – arising from the fact He watches and cares about every detail.)
He doesn’t need famous or strong to star in His Story. He doesn’t need magnificent or larger-than-life type lives. Little people with small lives are His usual cast.
The Singular Cause Worth Giving All For
And Jesus extends His arms to all who receive and believe Him. He is beauty unending, love unrelenting and the great Cause of most epic proportions. He loved us to the uttermost, is Himself the Desire of the Nations and tells us with His own voice, “I am coming quickly” (Jn. 13:1; Haggai 2:7; Rev. 22:12).
Amidst the endless torrents of promised pleasures and billowing fantasies without substance, He stands utterly alone in a barren wasteland of empty promises and false claims. He is the singular source of true pleasure – Himself, the exclusive Hope to lodge our anchor (Ps. 36:8; Jn. 4:14; 1 Tim. 1:1).
Amidst the swarming masses of claims to great causes, His is the premier Cause worth giving all for in an urgent hour. What is hidden now will be clearly seen when His banner of victory soars alone in the skies, raised for all the everlasting ages (Is. 2:11; Zech. 9:10b).
Meeting His eyes in this invitation to live for the greatest Cause of all causes summons the very depths of the human person. Personally finding in Him the overwhelming love that is greater than any we’ve ever known compels us to live sacrificially and heroically, with our eyes always held steady upon Him (2 Cor. 5:14; Heb. 12:2-3).
And at this invitation, seeing His outstretched arms and hearing the sound of His voice, children begin to stand tall. Old men lift hanging heads as though hearing the song that first lit their heart long ago. Wonder fills the eyes and tears stream down lifted faces. Love is stirred and purpose revived.
We were always made to give all for this One – the Lamb of God.
And as though on the distant shores, I hear the echoes of the Moravian missionary cry, ringing out the response so well:
May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!