“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Joel 2:12 (NIV)
Most mornings I get asked, “How are you?” My automatic answer is, “I’m good”. The majority of the time my reply is the truth, but there are many occasions where that is a false statement. Would my answer then change if I wasn’t good? Most likely no, even if I’m not doing well in “life” I will still put a smile on and say “I’m good.”
When reading this passage in Joel, there are words that I don’t normally relate to, such as fasting, weeping, and mourning. However, I do relate to feeling empty, weak, and sad. When hardship hits me, I shed tears, droop my shoulders, and grow hungry (physically and spiritually). As a Christian, I should hold my head up and show a loving smile at everyone I see, right? I am expected to be perfect by my peers, my family, and the church because I follow Jesus. But is it okay if I’m not okay? What if I don’t have it all together? Could people handle it if I told them I was a fraud who doesn’t have life under control? Would Jesus still want me when my acting is strong, but my heart is heavy and I’m a wreck?
Many people try to give Jesus their whole heart, but in reality, they just want to give Him the good pieces of their heart. The Lord said that He wants us to give ALL of our hearts to Him. We can fool everyone into thinking we are doing “good”, but the Lord knows the depths of our hearts and the hurt that is written inside. Even now, when we feel we have messed up in our walk with Him, He continues to walk beside us. He waits for us to return to Him holding our baggage we carry every day. He wants to experience life with us, even when life isn’t fair and doesn’t make sense.
Jesus wants our relationship with Him to be built on trust and honesty. He is always honest with us, but we have a very hard time being honest with Him. He desires a relationship with us that leaves no time for us to worry about rehearsing our false feelings. Jesus wants us to return to Him raw, exposed, and available. Even when we are hungry, hurt, bruised, and despaired, He wants us. Even when we seem fine on the outside, but inside we are a mess, He wants us. Even when no one else cares He cares, He does. Jesus declares over our lives for us to return to Him even during those hard, unthinkable times. Even now when we have nothing but baggage to offer Him, He welcomes us as we are. He welcomes the broken, hurt, and weak into His arms.
Lord, I thank you for accepting me as I am. I’m tired of pretending to be fine. I thank you for Your desire to have my whole heart, even when it is broken. You took on the cross so that I don’t have to carry my heavy heart alone. I release my troubles to Your capable hands. I am ready, to be honest with You. I rejoice that all things work together for the good to those who love the Lord. I love you, Lord. Amen.