Here it is, the rest of this two-part story. There is one more part to this series of posts, though; there will be one more post in the context of this Will You Follow concept. I make no promises on when it will be up, but as soon as I can.
I stayed for time uncounted, cowering in my corner, hiding ashamedly, burying my face from my burning shame and my burning conscience. I cried until my tears ran out, and still I sat, miserable, wishing for more tears to match those that fell from my heart.
As I sat with head buried in my arms, wallowing in the shame of what I had done, I was startled by a hand on my shoulder. Hesitantly lifting my head, I wanted to groan at who was before me.
Couldn’t it have been any but Him?
My shame was great and obvious as I pulled away from His touch and cowered further into my cubby, trying to pull away from the one person that knew me best and the worse to have to face at this moment. I wanted to run far away, but had no where to go.
He touched my face and I reluctantly let Him lift my chin, reluctantly let my eyes meet His, afraid of what I would see there. I had failed so utterly, I had disobeyed and undoubtedly brought shame and disappointment to the One I cared about the most. How could I face Him? Yet face Him I must, so I let my eyes meet His.
What I saw there struck me deeply, shattering me.
In His eyes, there was not what I expected. Yes, He was disappointed, but this was not disappointment in me, this was disappointment along with me—as in, sympathy, empathy—He felt with and for me. Somehow, He did. It was different and unexplainable, yet that it was there. He felt along with me. His sorrow was great, but overwhelming love was greater in His tender gaze.
And that was all somehow worse…and yet I drank in its tender, healing light.
‘I am sorry,’ I spoke, dropping my gaze. ‘I was wrong,’ I confessed. ‘Forgive me,’ the plea was soft and desperate. I was beyond sorry; I felt devastated. Worthless and horrible.
‘Why do you hide? Why should you feel the need to shy away from Me? Do you doubt My love, that it is not overcoming and all-encompassing, to cover even this? My Grace is sufficient for you.’ I was shocked when He spoke and ever so slowly raised my gaze at the prompting of His fingers beneath my chin.
‘I have failed you.’ I tried to shy away, but something in that open, kind gaze held me fast. I felt the need to face Him head on, but even so there was also something purely captivating about Him. And He would not be denied. Yet, wasn’t that what I had done? ‘I denied You.’
‘None fail unless they fail to rise again.’ He answered softly. ‘How do you conclude that you have denied Me?’
‘You told me to follow, I did not.’
His gaze was sad, watching me for a moment until I felt somewhere between absolutely wretched and healing. ‘You have kept my commandments in your heart, and you have not denied My Name. My Grace is sufficient for even this.’
I nodded—for who was I to argue with the Almighty? His voice was soft, serious, and struck right into the heart of me as He spoke. I could not deny what He said, I could not fight the grace He offered to me, unworthy as I was. However, what excuse was that? He had died to make me worthy, therefore I was worthy through Him.
‘May I ask something, Lord?’ I finally managed. A nod to the affirmative met my hesitant, shy question. ‘Where were You taking me? If I had followed, what was Your plan?’
He gave a small, nigh-sad smile. ‘None are ever told what might have happened, child. What would have happened is never imparted to you.’
I nodded, dropping my gaze. What had I ruined? The question plagued me.
‘What you can find out is this: what will happen.’ He pointed out.
Hope blossomed in me and I raised my gaze. Did that mean what I thought it did? ‘You…You will still use me? I have not ruined the plans You have for me?’
‘It is to your arrogance that such a notion plays, to think that something you could do would overcome the plans I have made. No, if you are willing to follow, if you are willing to accept the plans I have for you, you will receive them.’
My head was nodding quickly before the last syllable had faded. Another chance? Truly? They—we—I do not call Him the God of Second Chances for nothing—He is the God of Second Chances.
He stood and offered me a hand up, and He easily pulled me to my feet. ‘Will you follow?’ He asked seriously, looking me straight in the eye and I dare not look away even as He looked right into my soul.
‘Then follow Me,’ He instructed, turning to lead the way.
I followed. I wanted to do no other thing. I would never know what would have happened if I had followed Him the first time, but I learned to trust Him and I learned what would happen. We did return to those I had run from, we did walk right in amongst the crowd and passed through without any harm. I would never know if that is what He intended the first time we came or not.
Whether it was passing through the crowd, or going in amongst them to spread His light, I would never know what that first time held, but there were many variations accomplished other times. I never knew what was coming, but I had to be willing to trust. When I went in amongst them, I was protected, the same as I was when just passing by on my way in following Him.
I wanted to be right where He was, wherever that was, no matter what. I want to be right where He is, whether He was with the kind-of-sick or the extremely-sick.
I want to be right where He is—even when He walks in amongst the thieves, the thugs, the rapists, and murderers. If that is where He has called me to be with Him, I will follow. I want to be where He is.
In an upcoming post, we will evaluate this story, pick it apart and understand everything about it. I make no claims to be someone who has it all figured out; this is as much of a learning process for me as it is for you. I have no doubts that I have some extremes that need to be tempered. I am still figuring things out, too. Are we not all?