Jesus went out of His way to bring us Home.
I bow my head over the bread and the cup and close my eyes. At the head of the table, Jesus stands. There’s a crown of thorns piercing His brow, and His eyes are sunken but shining. His outstretched hands bless the beggars, the cripples, the liars, the rebels.
I’m battered and bruised, bleary-eyed and brokenhearted. I stare into the face of the One I spent my entire life running from. I’m overwhelmed because He loves His enemies. He subjected Himself to torture, to the grave, to hell and beyond, in order to bring us Home.
Jesus is calling.
The image shifts and I’m running through a dense wood at dusk, scratching my face and tearing my hands against thorns in my mad race to get as far away from Heaven as I can. I’m screaming to shut out His voice and crashing through the underbrush as if my life depended on it. When I think I’m deep enough into my wild escape, I stop with my hands on my knees and try to breathe. I shut my eyes against the beauty.
I’m a rebel. Rebels have no time for beauty.
But my heart still aches. I’m still angry. I’m still afraid. And I’m lost.
“Eliana?” comes the gentle, firm, sad voice.
“Stop!” I cry, pressing my palms against my ears.
This is not a voice I can block out.
He appears slightly beyond the trees, watching me. He doesn’t shout. He doesn’t raise His fist. Instead, He opens His arms and waits.
Despite myself, the tears spring to my eyes. He came after me. He searched for me, leaving ninety-nine to find one. His eyes are kind and He blinks slowly, holding a promise there in the scars on His hands.
His mercy reminds me how foolish I’ve been. His abounding grace reveals my ridiculous sins and petty attempts to be my own king. His invitation is covered in a love that gently tells me I don’t deserve it but He’s going to love me anyway. He’s going to lead me to His house and let me sit at His table, even when my heart was set on killing Him.
I sob and let Him hold me.
“Come Home, my child,” He whispers. “Come Home.”