His Smile

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Life in God has been for me as if I were with Jesus beside a busy street, deep in the heart of a large city. Several lanes of cars, trucks and vehicles of every shape and size are whizzing by … right before us. A pleasant afternoon, people bustling along behind us in both directions, we stand together watching the traffic, silent, still.

He turns to me and asks, in an unmistakably direct, clear tone, “Do you trust Me?”

I feel His warmth, His smile. “Sure Lord. I trust you.”

“Cross.”

I hesitate a second. “There’s … sure a lot of traffic here … Lord. Are You sure You want me to cross? Now?”

“Do you trust Me?”

“Lord … of … of course I trust You … but are You sure this is what You want?”

He smiles … looking right into me.

“Well … He means it …”, I ponder to myself for a moment, a bit uncertain … and look for a break in the oncoming traffic. Nothing … there really isn’t any way to do this safely … best I can tell. I try to relax, figuring He’s going to protect me some way or other, and step out into the path of an oncoming vehicle … looking straight ahead.

I hear its sound approaching … no brakes, no swerving … time slows to a crawl … I trust Him the best I know how.

WHAAMM!!!

I am hit dead on and thrown to the pavement alongside the curb. My side is crushed. I lie on my back … dazed, confused, bleeding profusely, cradled in the cold unfeeling arms of the gutter, just beyond the whizzing traffic.

Stunned, I try to look back up at Him … several yards away now. He is still standing at the curb … smiling at me.

“Lord!!” I call out bewildered, confused, broken, “I … I thought … You wanted me to cross the street!”

“I do.”

“Woa!!” I moan to myself … waiting for someone to rush up to me, call the paramedics and begin to care for me.

But no one even seems to notice me lying there … everyone just keeps on about their business.

I am groaning, dying … speechlessly bewildered. I feel profoundly embarrassed, foolish, betrayed, wasted.

A couple of hours pass … no one comes to rescue me. Jesus just looks on, and smiles. There is no comfort, no help …. just His smile … which seems so very out of place … so very out of place now.

In the presence of this divine smile, words lose their meaning … trust becomes an empty folly … I try to put the pieces together, somehow … to find a place for the monstrosity welling up within. How could this be happening?

I start to lose consciousness. I look back at Him one last time … desperate, alone, helpless. I have no more words.

He finally speaks, as if in confident command to something more immense than I could ever be.

“Get up.”

The thought itself seems painfully absurd … startled that He has bothered to speak to me again. I lie for a moment, pooled in my own blood, “… what ‘ve I got to lose? Might as well try to obey … one last time … He’s sure worth it.”

I try to sit up, expecting nothing in response from my broken frame. Yet, to my great surprise, I am able to rise. I do sit up, very slowly and painfully, and look about me, still in excruciating pain, wincing at the cars blasting past me every few seconds. Amazing! Every attempt to move my body is answered by its obedience. I struggle slowly to my feet, carefully avoiding the traffic, wobbling back and forth, my feet unsteady in the rigid fold of the curb. One arm broken, I don’t understand how my legs are holding me up. The pain is so intense I can hardly breathe.

I look back at Him.

He is still smiling.

He nods me forward, as if to repeat His command to cross … as if to invite me farther into His call.

There are only two choices: step back out of the street, onto the safety of the curb, and disobey Him — what nearly everything in me screams out for, or take another step toward the other side … and certain death.

I look back at Him in bewilderment, in an unbelief bordering on anger.

I choose. I take two more steps forward and notice a large RV coming.

SMAAASH!!!

I am thrown back to the pavement, square in the middle of the first lane of traffic. Barely conscious, I lie as flat as I can, cars and trucks whizzing by a few inches above me. I don’t really know what’s broken and what’s not … and there’s no way for me to figure it out. I can hardly focus for the pain, but when I tell my body to do something, it still responds. I look upstream and wait until there is a larger gap between vehicles. I roll the best I can past the oncoming tires into a safer place in between the first two lanes.

Desperate, trembling, suffering deeply … I turn to look back at Him … between the wheels and bumpers flying by, and see His smile again. I can’t understand … there is nothing within me that can possibly understand that smile.

He nods again.

“Get up.”

I try again … to rise to my feet. Soaked in blood, clothes tattered … but everything works … despite the pain. I look at the cars coming, every driver oblivious of me, and swallow in terrified unbelief. One more step …

BLAAMM!!!

A bus. Back to the pavement. Wiping the blood from my eyes so I can see … roll again … avoid the tires … Breathe!

I hear, from across two lanes of traffic, as if He were lying right beside me …

“Get up!”

I rise awkwardly, for the third time. I clamp my fists … my grip is stronger than it has ever been. My muscles are taught and tense, my reflexes are sharp, my wit is keen. I take two more steps…

CRUUUNCH!!!

A HumV …  flattens me under its wheels.

“Get up!”

His smile … joyous … beaming … victorious …

SMAAACK!!!

A cement truck … knocking me clear back into the previous lane of traffic. Disoriented, I roll the wrong way …

“Get up!!!”

. . .

Hours later, after being run over by every kind of vehicle imaginable … broken and destroyed in ways I could never even comprehend before, much less survive … I finally stop for a moment, and come to myself. I think, I take notice of myself and what I am doing … what is happening to me… and I realize I feel stronger than I have ever felt in my life. The pain is quite bearable, my heart is pounding sturdily, firmly, my mind is clear, alert. I am focused, energized, deliberate, coherent, sane … more than I ever remember being sane.

I look back at Him … again.

His smile is simply awesome this time … majestic … absolutely breathtaking.

I stare at Him, behold Him, study Him. I think I see a bit of a twinkle in His eye …

… and I sort of smile back …

I think I am beginning to understand …

Only a God of Resurrection could do something like this

I look back at the traffic … two lanes to go … and then back to His smile, and then deep inside …

I find something new, something I never expected to find inside …

I am no longer afraid … of anything.

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