by Rhonda Loucks
“This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Translations, paraphrases, or commentaries… still the message here is the same. When considering this verse I can’t help but fall more in love with the Holy Spirit. He is the One given to me by the Father to keep my head on straight. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but I wear Him out. OK, I know that scripture says that God never tires, but if He could, I might just be one of the main causes. My life and many of my decisions have been an “at-risk” adventure for Him. The Holy Spirit was assigned to me to help, to teach, to interpret, to help provide understanding and to guide. He has been strong and has been patient. And today, more than ever, I completely understand the decisive word “will” in the verse.
It’s like the great line of “saints” and some of us who might consider ourselves the “barely-made-its” all standing at the gates of Heaven waiting to get in. The line is long past the seat of judgment and we are all hanging-out, moving slowly, enjoying the amazing scenery waiting to be greeted and welcomed by the Father and the Son, who have paid so dearly for our arrival.
Third from the front a woman is being greeted who seems like their old friend. She’s not as old looking as you would expect for someone who seems to communicate so well with them. There is no surprise in their eyes, no relief of concern for her arrival. They have absolutely been expecting her. She opens her mouth and wisdom pours from her lips. They speak in a language that she, He and the “I Am” only seem to know – and yet, the words melt into my heart and the hearts around me and we understand her great love for them and their greater love for her.
It was a conversation of age and history and pleasantry. They laughed at the end of almost each phrase – so much so that He had to grab the skirt of His robe a couple of times to wipe the laughter leaking from His eyes. The sound was contagious too, and I had to giggle as well, though I did not really know why. There was so much joy and happiness in this reunion that I couldn’t help but share, couldn’t help but stare. The three of them had been separated for so long, and, although they had definitely stayed in close touch with each other, you could tell that they were all very pleased to be united at long last.
As the initial excitement softened, they noticed us standing in line, and I saw Him wink at the man in front of me. In unison they both turned to greet this next one. As he moved toward them, they hugged her one more time, she went on, and they stood standing.
Second in line now, and I couldn’t help but be completely involved. I was too close to move away, too near to not hear. The man that stood before me could barely move. In fact, he could barely hold himself upright. His body was broken and warped. He smelled of age and decay and sickness. In one strong motion, the “I Am” pulled him to His breast. I heard the Son whisper to the man, “I know you are tired, but you are home now.” I moved around on one foot so as to reposition myself to get a different perspective.
The man’s face came into view and his eyes caused me to pause. While the rest of his body looked like an old dish-rag that had been left in the sink way too long and needed throwing out, his eyes were bright and sparkling. When he began to speak his voice was weak and raspy, and difficult to hear. But his words were clear and thoughtful and full of emotion. “It has been a long hard run. There were a couple of times there that I thought ‘he’ was going to catch me…”
And as the almost silent word “he” was spoken…just the reference of “his” existence put all of Heaven on guard. Angels pulled their swords, cherubim encircled all those in line, and the Son held up His hands. I was so close that I felt the breeze that the sleeves of His majestic robe made as they passed in front of my face. “Fear not,” He said. And peace blew through His words and spread faster than the fear had taken hold. “I have always been with you. But today I stand before you.” He spoke as the Father looked on in great pride and approval. “All of us here know that satan is real.” Then pointing to the man in front of me He said, “Some of us know better than others.” And as He lowered His hands, I saw the scars of the cross embedded there.
And a tear dropped on my shirt. I was a little embarrassed that I would be crying on such a wonderful and glorious day. I slightly turned my head and tried to wipe my eyes. But, they were not wet. Then another tear fell on me and another. Quickly I followed the trail. And my own emotions became all consuming as I saw that they were coming from Him. Long streams of giant droplets were running down His face. And He was smiling. Tears and smiles all mingled together – and me just standing there with my mouth hanging open.
“We are so proud of you,” were the next words spoken. And the power and depth of that voice filled the heavens. “You have been fired and sifted and thrashed on your journey, but your heart has always been for Us. Thank you for the obedience; we knew you could make it.” And then the whispering voice barely said, “Thank you, Father, for the strength. I knew You would always be there for me.”
And just when my mind was starting to wrap some understanding around the condition of this man’s appearance two angels, so bright in intensity and light that I could barely see, stripped him of his body and threw it to the earth. The Son told His angels to give the man whatever he wanted. They winked and handed him what looked like a great catalog of sorts. His sparkling eyes glittered in their light even more brightly. The last thing I heard from that conversation was while they were ushering him away one of the bright ones said, “Great choice; you aren’t going to believe the bells and whistles on that one.”
And my mind whirled with excitement for the man and his new being. What a wonderful, glorious day for him and all of those whose flesh has been scarred and diseased and broken.
And then I was first in line. As I turned my head away from the situation that had been entertaining my attention, I saw Christ and the Father move a little to adjust as the Holy Spirit came in. He greeted their eyes and each of them nodded. For a moment I think I felt a little concerned. I had been in this situation before, the three of them working together to help me out of some ridiculous predicament that I had gotten myself into. I remember the exact words, ”We are working it out for your good.”
But this time there was no fear, no concern, no condemnation. I was really just curious. Why did He just fly in? And what were the three of them whispering about? Then the Father broke the awkward silence and His rolling laugh thundered the words, ”I never had any doubt.” I could see her heart and knew that she wanted us. Then He grinned and said, ”She sure gave you two a workout. How many angels did you send to protect her? How many voices did you try before you found one she would listen to? How many times did you have to break her heart, stop her in her path, send a trial to help sift her chaff? But here she is. I gave her the choice, and she came back to Me – to Us.”
I watched the Spirit’s face in an effort to gain clues to my earlier questions. And when the Father said, “She came back to us,” the look in my sweet Holy Spirit’s eyes made me realize why He had flown in to greet me face to face. He was as much in love with me as I am with Him, and He just couldn’t resist putting the assignments of all of eternity on hold to come and greet the one He had spent so much time and energy on.
And I knew Him. And I knew the Son. And I knew the great “I Am.” And they knew me. And they all stood together, arms interlocked reaching for me. I took one step toward them and they encircled me. And I became all of eternity.
This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it; not because it is easy; not because it makes sense; not because life is fair or that I can define some sort of perfect path for my life. But because I will, I have decided, I choose, I must serve Him today in the very best possible way I can. I must tell others, I must look to the positive, I must not think of myself, I must not fear. I must live beyond myself and instead live for the sake of Him who has given me this day and every breath in it. I must do this for me and for those people that He has placed in my path today. I must live Christ before them. I must do it for them – and for Him, and Him, and Him, because they love me and continue to do whatever it takes to make sure I can.
So this day, I will – because I will it.
Rhonda D. Loucks is an author, wife, mother, Sunday School teacher and member of Wichita First Church of the Nazarene. More of her writings are available at uncutobedience.com.