My necklace fell heavy against my chest as I scaled the rocks. Moving between footholds, I felt the metal cross swing out like a door-knocker, rhythmically pounding a reminder into me: “I want more space in your heart. I want to be right there.”
The last-remaining snow was frozen to the shadowy places on the hillside. I kept my arms and legs as balanced as I could before taking the next step so I wouldn’t slip off to the bottom. But even in my carefulness, I found my thoughts distracted by this knocking on the door to my soul.
I am doing my best to give Jesus a place in my heart—lately, I’ve been on a personal mission to make his heart mine. To exchange my heart for his. I’m afraid I’m failing miserably.
Earlier on my hike, I lamented to myself that I needed to do a better job of setting an example of a Christian man, for my friends who are followers and also for those who are non-believers. I even went as far as to nod my head in agreement with my own thought while walking through a lonely spot in the woods. Oddly enough, the very next word out of mouth (further up the trail, when my camera wouldn’t cooperate) was profanity. Another failure to add to the list although I didn’t miss the humor in that quickly broken promise.
I’ve been reading the book of John in various translations for the last month hoping to find some insights into Jesus’ … essence, I suppose. Just before heading into the woods, I was reading from Chapter 4 in the Passion translation, and the “earthly perspective” of the woman at the well suddenly came as clear to me as if I saw that moment myself.
When Jesus tells the woman he can give her living water, the kind that will quench her thirst forever, she thinks immediately in human terms. She responds in part by saying she wants a drink so she “won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” I smiled at that. She is completely clueless to Jesus’ deeper meaning. He is speaking of eternal life while her mind is focused on removing the labor of this errand from her day.
Jesus’ followers were often so focused on the world, they missed what he was teaching them about the spirit realm. How could they have fathomed it even if they did understand? How can we begin to imagine a place where we’ve never been, let alone think like a God who lived there and walked there, who knew us for thousands of years before our birth? My suggestion for setting our sights on Heavenly things is to draw nearer to our Lord and Savior and do our best to share in his unfailing love and grace.
A few months ago I would have scoffed at that notion and said it was impossible. Now I will tell you through the Holy Spirit we can come close to our God in the places he resides. We have to be open and undergo a genuine heart change. We have to listen. Then the door opens. He spoke to me by using this symbol of his sacrifice that I wear around my neck. Despite all my imperfections, I didn’t miss that.