Come with me to the water, friends. Come with me.
This simple statement has echoed in my mind this past week. Over and over, this rhythm of words has hummed through my soul, and this idea of water and washing has pulled me deeper into the Word and placed you on my heart.
Water heals and cleanses and purifies, yes? It washes away the dirt and grime, removing the ugly and the nasty and the dirt. “Wash your hands, girls!” I heard that every night before dinner growing up; I tell it to my own kids now. This washing by water exposes any open cuts or wounds or grossness we may bear from hard work or play. And then the mere sound of ocean waves or a rushing mountain stream can both invigorate and calm our souls. (How many of you sleep with a noisemaker? I can only handle the white noise. The sound of waves just makes me have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I know, I’m weird.) Good, we know that water flows and soothes, but it also rages and destroys. Much like Truth.
I’ve been on my face in some serious soul-searching regarding this very topic, and I’ve found that truth and water are much the same. And yet I find we are more eager to run towards one than the other. Let me explain.
I don’t think we want the truth. Yes, you read that right. There are times I believe with every fiber of my being that we do not desire Truth. Nope. We don’t want to touch it, feel it, hear it, smell it, or deal with it. Why?
It’s simple. Truth means exposure. Not only that, but it’s intimidating and scary, and it hurts and makes us feel small and in the center. It utterly overwhelms us, and can leave us angry and uncomfortable and embarrassed. Who wakes up in the morning wanting to experience that?
So we cover up. We pretend. And we hide.
I’ve been a follower of Christ since elementary school. But I screwed around with my faith when I hit high school. I didn’t want to be that girl. The good one. The holy one. I wanted to be someone everyone liked, not someone the cool kids avoided. So, I decided to be everything to everyone. Party on Fridays, youth group leader on Sundays. Easy, right? Until it wasn’t.
I remember this moment like it was yesterday. I close my eyes, and I am there. Lafayette High school. Sophomore AP English class, first row on the right, third seat from the front. One of my classmates was hearing impaired, and she would arrive every day for class with her interpreter, some college-age guy; I never knew his name, but I’ll never forget his face. My classmate, a girl, sat in the first seat of my row. Her interpreter sat to her left against the wall, away from the class, facing her. On this particular day, the conversation turned to faith and religion. Of course, I’m a youth group gal, aren’t I? I do church; I know my stuff. So I opened my mouth and shared my brilliant Christian opinion.
That college-age guy, that hearing-impaired interpreter, the guy who never, ever said a word to anyone in the class, whipped his head my way and glared. “Are you kidding me? I see you every weekend. It’s because of hypocrites like you that you will never find me inside a church. ”
Truth. I had been exposed. No more hiding; he caught me. With nowhere to run, I shrank back as twenty-four pairs of eyes turned to me. What do you say in a moment like that? Some of those eyes belonged to those I partied with on Fridays, but some of those eyes belonged to my Christian friends.
Y’all, I so didn’t want the Truth that day. I didn’t want to be exposed. No way did I want people to know who I was. I’d worked too hard to get to this place; I would have much preferred my mess to remain in the dark. Let me be who I want to be, people. Just let me be. It was NONE of his business calling me out. Who was he? He wasn’t a high-schooler. He didn’t know me. How dare he? I was livid. But not because he was wrong. No. I was livid because he was RIGHT. I was a hypocrite. I wasn’t who I claimed to be. And dadgummit, his stinkin’ revelation messed with my well-laid plans. Now I had questions to answer, hard ones.
Those questions left me uncomfortable, embarrassed, furious and terrified as I felt the world close in on me. The truth forced me to the center. You know that place. It’s where time and earth screech to a halt, and you’re the lone man standing. Man, the truth didn’t feel soothing that morning. Instead, it raged, and it destroyed every lie upon which I had built my life. But it left me with a choice.
Isn’t that what Truth does? When someone tosses truth on the table, we are left with two options. Do we embrace it, or do we ignore it? I’ll tell you right now, as a sophomore in high school, I wanted to ignore it. Laugh it off. Deny it. I wanted more than anything to destroy that interpreter’s character. He was a freak! Why should anyone believe his word? It meant nothing. Right? But I couldn’t blow it off because I knew he was telling the truth. And you know what? The students in my class were keenly aware of my double-life, they had just never mentioned it. Yet, if I had held my ground and reacted with dismay and disgust, scoffing at his outrageous outburst, every single person in that classroom would have piped up to offer their evidence. Either that or they were each secretly praying their hypocrisy wasn’t about to be exposed. Listen, guys:
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” Hebrews 4:12-13
Truth hurts, guys. It just does. And though that young man was not a follower of Christ, the Lord used Him to expose my sin. Friends, the Word of God is sharp; it cuts and divides and wounds. But it also heals. And I don’t care what those Facebook and Pinterest memes say, the blood of Jesus Christ isn’t some lovely 1930s motion picture. Your heart isn’t gonna melt and turn all mushy and soft when confronted with Truth. Scripture, the truth of Who God IS and Who We are NOT will bring you to your knees. The Cross hurts. There is nothing easy or simple about surrendering and confessing, repenting and refining. It’s why many of us don’t run to truth. Instead, we run from it. We’d rather stay hidden. Because haven’t we worked too hard to get where we are?
Hear me; the truth enraged the Jews, the very people who walked and talked with the Son of God. Jesus was a threat to the church leaders, and they sought to stone Him. Plainly spoken, they did not want the truth. They were infuriated when He claimed to be the Son of Man, having been sent by God. But read His words from John 8: 31- 32,
“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
Come to the water with me, y’all. Come with me. Don’t scoff at the freedom Truth offers. Let the Word of God and the blood of the Lamb expose your wounds and raw flesh. Let the Truth shine in all your dark places. Embrace His cleansing. Why? Because He disciplines out of love, my friends. Not only that but “He disciplines us for our good so that we may share His holiness.” (Hebrews 12: 10). Share in His holiness, y’all! That’s GOOD STUFF. And girls, if your heart is willing, you will never reach a place where the Lord cannot or will not restore you. Know that. Know that you can “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that (you) may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16; read verses 12-16)
Grab your copy of God’s Word and dive deep this week, my friends. Dive deep, don’t fear exposure and let the Word of the Lord cleanse and soothe your soul.