Live Second, Day 2: “Reckless”
On the second day of my Live Second journey I read a story about a woman weeping at Jesus’s feet. It reminded me of the time that my boyfriend (future husband) dumped me and I accidentally blew snot rockets onto the carpet of a church sanctuary – in front of other people.
In Luke chapter 7, a woman came to Jesus in the most desperate state of need. Recklessly.
She barged into a dinner party without regard for the people around her.
She wept openly without regard for her own dignity.
She gave lavishly without regard for the cost.
We, as people, act recklessly when we come to the point where “nothing matters more than this.” We drive recklessly when nothing matters more than getting there. We share recklessly when nothing matters more than being heard. We behave recklessly when nothing matters more than being noticed. We give recklessly when nothing matters more than love.
To this woman, nothing mattered more than getting close to Jesus. Nothing mattered more than his forgiveness. So she came – recklessly.
When I was a junior in college, the man to whom I am now married dumped me. I told Dan that I never wanted to see him or speak to him again. (I keep insisting that I was not dramatic and people keep not believing me.) The truth is, I knew that I loved him and that I would never, ever get over him if he kept on smiling at me. A few days later, when I was still feeling very raw and tender like my skin was on inside out, I was in the campus bookstore when Dan walked in.
I did the mature thing. I hid.
I stood in a corner, touching the spines of books I wasn’t reading because my eyes were clenched so tightly. Then, because he is a miscreant and a rule-breaker and for an entire year his ambition in life was to torture me, he approached my turned back AND SPOKE TO ME.
After a minute of awkward, robotic, small talk, I felt my eyelids reach their tipping point: the point when spillage is inevitable. I excused myself and managed to power-walk to the door of the bookstore before the first ugly-crying gasp-noise escaped my lips.
I did not walk, I did not run. I did a weird half-walk, half-run shuffle towards the nearest exit and arranged my hair to hang in front of my face to cover the torrents of mascara. Between the hair, the shuffle, and the ugly-cry choking noises, I very closely resembled Quasimodo. This is exactly the impression you want to make on your ex whom you still love. (He married me eventually, didn’t he?)
I run-shuffled up 4 flights of stairs to a tiny white chapel nestled between a bunch of dormitories: the prayer chapel. An ancient one-room building with green carpet and a dozen pews on either side of a slender aisle. It was almost always deserted. I run-shuffled up the walk, flung the doors open and what do you know: NOT DESERTED. Every eye in the place landed on me: sweaty (four flights of stairs!), snotty, mascara-y, with swollen eyes and wild, cave-woman hair. Awesome.
But I did. not. care. I wasn’t coming for privacy, I was coming to pray – recklessly. It didn’t matter that there were people there, it didn’t matter how lame “I saw my ex-boyfriend” sounded: nothing mattered more than getting close to Jesus.
I wedged myself on the ground between two pews, drew my knees up to my chest and sobbed. This is what I said:
“Jesus, please, please hold me. Please, please, please, please hold me. I know you are not a feeling, but please let me feel you. If you don’t, that’s okay. But please, please, please hold me.”
Those were the only words I had, and they were the only words I needed.
What I know is that when we come to Jesus desperately, he comes for us right back. We see it all over scripture; when the father runs to meet his prodigal son. When a barren Hannah prays so desperately for a son that everyone in the church thinks she’s drunk – and God gives her a baby. When a man fights so hard to get to Jesus that his friends cut a hole in somebody’s roof and lower him down over the crowd – the first century version of helicoptering in – and God heals him. God is moved by our recklessness; He has compassion on our desperate state; He delights to save.
Here is why this matters for you.
When you get to a point when nothing matters more than God’s forgiveness – you have it. [1 John 1:9]
When you are humble enough, desperate enough, to say, like the sinful woman in Luke 7, “I’ll do whatever I have to do, endure whatever I have to endure, sacrifice whatever I have to sacrifice, because nothing matters more than getting close to Jesus,” He meets you exactly where you are, full of compassion and tenderness ready to hold, heal, and forgive.
I know this because when I was twenty-years-old, weeping and dribbling snot all over the carpet of a crowded church, desperate to be held, Jesus said to me,
“Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob,
all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I have upheld since your birth,
and have carried since you were born.
Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
[Isaiah 46: 3-4]
If you need to come, come recklessly. It only ever turns out great.