At the very end of “The Black List” recently, Liz lays her head on Red’s shoulder. Acting as a father figure, he holds her and gently places a kiss on the back of her head. She cries from the unimaginable facts she has recently discovered about her husband.
Red has just completed building a music box for her. It plays the same song as the one her father gave her when she was a little girl. Liz realizes that just as her father played it for her when she needed someone there for her, Red has made it so that it would be ready for her when she finally reaches the point where she would have to face the facts about her husband.
It was touching. At that moment she was completely cared for, completely protected. Red knew what Liz needed and he had prepared for it in anticipation of what was to happen.
Out of nowhere I realized that is exactly what I wanted: to be a little boy again, held in the arms of my mother when all the world seemed against me. When all I wanted to do was ball my eyes out, she would hold me, stroke my hair, and tell me everything was going to be OK. I didn’t have to be strong at that moment. She was. My father was. They provided for me and protected me. It was a strong, solid safety net — one that kept me from certain tragedy (or so it seemed to my young mind).
I’m beginning to see how God is that safety net for us, His children. I’ve known for a long time that He wants to be our Comforter, our Protector, but it’s taken me an even longer time to turn that head knowledge into heart knowledge — to accept the fact that He really is there, no matter what. He longs to have us rest in Him: “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
I recently heard Timothy Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, teaching on Jesus’ ascension. One of the verses he references is John 10:17. Here, Mary Magdalene has just discovered that Jesus has risen from the dead. He says to Mary, “‘Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
As Keller explains, Jesus tells Mary not to hold on to Him, that He must go. The ascension was a good thing, because only by ascending is Jesus able to sit in His place of honor, at the right hand of the Father. After His resurrection, but before His ascension, he walks the earth just as any ordinary man might do. By ascending to Heaven, however, He is able to assume the role He was always intended to hold.
Because Jesus is in His seat of power at the right hand of the the Father, He watches over us continually, interceding for us, no matter what.
Certainly, Jesus had power when He was in human form. After all, He was still King of Kings. However, all the final pieces fell into place when He assumed His intended role.
It’s been a difficult journey for me, trying to grasp how much God truly loves His children. Even though the analogies we might make through stories like the ones on “The Black List” can spur us toward thinking about God’s vast love for us, these comparisons can never begin to illustrate all that He has in store for us. “But, as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him’” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
My belief is that we’ll never really under God’s immense love this side of Heaven. We simply have to trust in Jesus, patiently waiting until we’re able to worship Him in person and experience His full glory.