Day 4/25: words from Dad as I sink 3 feet into a shadow:

  1. The Bible is bigger than the church.
  2. God loves you so much.
  3. Can you hear me?
  4. I said, God loves you so much.
  5. Don’t rely on anyone but God.
  6. Are you listening?
  7. I am going to help you.
  8. You are going to have a testimony.
  9. Don’t ever stop praying.
  10. I love you so much.

Today, as I stood in a public place, I had a very clear memory come back to me. The day after my heart almost stopped on a flight, I had surpassed even my own expectations, and landed safely in Accra, Ghana. I still had a needle in my arm from when a doctor on the flight had dramatically put it in mid-air so a drip could be connected. I don’t remember the events of that flight very often, but lately i’ve been paying more attention. I remember my blood sliding down my arm. I remember watching everyone and every thing as I lay across three seats, completely detached. I remember the arms of the doctor as he raised the bag of saline high above his head and squeezed as hard as he could, forcing it down into my vein until the bag was empty. But more than this, I remember the moment when — the day after — my father rushed to the airport and saw me. I remember his face. It was an expression I hadn’t seen before, one of multiple things all at once. It was pain, desperation, worry, relief. But how resounding, the relief! It was so loud. I saw in his eyes something that I imagined one must feel when they very nearly lost a thing they loved in a nightmare and have awoken to find that it was not the truth. This was the memory I had today, and I started to cry. For context, let me tell you where I was standing at that moment: I was in a church and I had some bitterness in my heart, for reasons mostly linked to that church (surprise, surprise) but quite suddenly I had this memory and I imagined that God must have such a face, yearning and seeking and relieved for each of us when our eyes have met His. And it was so beautiful and freeing an image that I couldn’t help but cry.

It’s Day 4 of #JulyJoy and today I learnt that God is love, and God is a Father, and God is bigger than the church, bigger than bitterness and rejection and whatever else. There’s a story I remember from the Bible about the prodigal son, and as I type this I can’t shake the image of God running like a desperate father towards His child, seeking them, overwhelmingly relieved that they have turned toward home, no matter the journey and no matter how long it took. So ready to love them. So ready to hold them.

God can run.

I shout amen as I rise out of the shadow.