“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16 (ESV)
I often don’t even attempt to approach the Throne of Grace. Ironically, the times in which I am in desperate need of the grace of God are the times I least want to be around His presence. Not because I don’t actually want to, but because I feel unworthy. I feel ashamed. I want to hide, and I want to avoid the inevitable look of disappointment on my Father’s face. The funny thing is, I’ve never actually seen that look on His face. He has only ever met me with the most gentle kindness and loving accountability. I always feel comforted and safe in His presence. Yet, there are still times when I somehow believe (against all of my past experience) that He will turn His back to me when I try to run into His arms. What a horrible trick of the enemy to try and convince me that Jesus is anything other than perfectly loving.
This is a reminder to myself: Jonah, Jesus isn’t afraid of your sin. He isn’t disgusted with your mistakes. He isn’t angry at your immaturity. He isn’t tired of picking you up when you fall down. He wants your vulnerability. He wants you to acknowledge your weakness. He wants your confession. He wants you to be honest, and free from fear. He is calling you to His throne. Not to punish you, but to remind you of who He is and who you are. He wants to empower you to live in His kingdom. Go to Him. Run to Him. Throw down your pride, nail your insecurities to the cross, dance in His presence naked and unashamed. He sees all of you. He knows all of you. He loves all of you.
His throne is wreathed in flame; a bright, white, purifying flame. It’s only warm where I am standing. All of my possessions are safe for the time being. Inventory: Shame? Check. Insecurity? Check. Guilt? Check. Pride? Check. Fear? Check. The will to just take one step towards my loving Father . . . check. I start to inch towards the white-hot throne. My possessions clothe me like a shield, protecting me from . . . love? From Jesus? No, they aren’t protecting me at all. They only are protecting themselves. I take another step and the heat increases. With every step the flames of the throne reach out to me and pull me closer. I feel like I’m melting away; surely I’ll die if I go any closer. I realize that as I get closer, it’s not me that is melting away, it’s just my clothes. All of my possessions. Everything that I thought was protecting me. And as the pride, guilt, shame, insecurity, and fear are being stripped and melted away, the less pain I feel and the more safe I feel.
I’m at the feet of Jesus. Stripped bare and raw. Just fully me. I lay myself down at the foot of the throne, and He bends down and scoops me into his arms. And He just holds me there, weeping as I weep. His compassion and mercy fill me with strength. His love washes over me and makes me clean. His grace clothes me in His heavenly garments. Thank you, Jesus for making me whole.