She fell asleep on my arm and stayed there for about 10 minutes before my arm shook so badly that I couldn’t hold her up. So I scooped her onto my lap. She snuggled in and fell asleep (so sound asleep that she drooled on both of us). She stayed that way through all of service and the rest of the announcements and didn’t want to be put down when it was time for me to leave with the rest of the crew. But why tell you this story?
I tell this story because the Lord spoke to my heart in the moment where she nestled in to sleep in my arms. See, we get weird looks here a lot, because Jon and I love to hang out with the dirty kids, but culturally kids need to be clean to be held. I certainly got a few sidelong glances and giggles when I used my shirt to wipe drool off of the little one’s face. And I couldn’t care less because of the sweetness of that moment. I don’t say this to give myself accolades or make you think I am some great humanitarian. I say it because in that moment, Jesus said to me ‘that’s us’.
If the little one had been more awake she might have been to shy to sit close to Jon and I. She probably would have been very aware of the fact that she was ‘dirty’. But instead, she just trusted completely as I held her, and put herself fully in my arms to rest. I spend so much of my time so aware of the filth that covers me. The religion in my heart tells me that I need to clean myself up before I snuggle into the arms of Jesus. It’s such nonsense. Just like the last thought on my mind today was if that little girl was clean or not; Jesus doesn’t call us to get clean before we run to Him! He delights when we throw ourselves upon Him and just rest. He invites us to come to Him just as we are, filthy and gross and ashamed. And because of His blood, He doesn’t see those things. He DELIGHTS in having His children run into His arms to nestle in.
I can be so quick to forget the deep love and joy that Jesus has in fellowship with me as a daughter of His. But when I obsess over the grime of my own sin, I miss the chance to just rest in Him. Matthew 11:28 is our invitation, “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Notice it doesn’t say ‘clean up, get right, be perfect and come and I will make it hard,’ it just says come and He gives. I can’t earn Jesus’ love, but He offers it freely if I will but come to Him in faith. Then I can sleep soundly resting in His arms.