I don’t much care for crowds.
They have too many people in them.
Seriously, I find it hard to navigate my way through the masses of pain and hurt. Their longing, wandering, lost souls are beacons of wounds shining out from within them. I can hear their hearts crying out in many different ways, but every heart, in the end, beckons to have answered one question:
“Am I worth being loved?”
It’s a sea of differing pangs and groans that all blend into a singular and rather loud cacophony of aches and moans. I’ll near one person and hear their heart weeping, then it gets quieter and more distant as I pass on and begin to pick up the sounds of whoever I am walking closer to. What can I say…? It’s a gift.
I don’t much care for crowds.
Which is why I asked the Holy Spirit to hide me away in my own little world so that I could spend some “daddy date” time with my almost 5 year old, Daniel. He did. It was wonderful. Lost in the love for my son, and the love God ministers to me through him, every person at the Danbury Mall was a dull droning sound that was easily drowned out by the simple, sweet music of the carousel we road together just outside the food court.
Some things never change though, such as circular-induced nausea, and I found myself forcing a sweaty, strained smile in response to Daniel gleefully announcing he needed to use the restroom as this machine-that-never-should-have-been-created ground to a halt.
It was then that I saw a young couple, with their infant, speaking in hushed words around a small food court table. Neither could have been more than twenty-four years old. She spoke low and slowly and I could tell by her demeanor she was very upset about something as she leaned in to address her partner. Sorrow and restrained anger were etched on her face… but above all pain. They were some twenty feet away and other occupied tables were between us, so I did not hear what her words were.
But, I heard her heart…. and his. The young man spoke not a word to her, his eyes silent and sullen. His spirit was broken. Hers was too, but in a different way. Instantly I knew their story and all that kept them together was a broken-hearted love for each other and great fear of the unknown.
I turned away and gently massaged my Daniel’s soft hand as we walked on. The Lord didn’t say a word to me. He asked me nothing and I asked Him nothing. No words were exchanged and I was quite content to wipe my eyes and move on.
I had completely forgotten about them and upon exiting the restroom, Daniel once again holding my hand, I saw them in the same position. She leaning over him, and he silently looking up at her while she spoke. The baby was all quiet.
I peered down at my son who was looking all around, his face the picture of joyful, quiet contentment. I watched his gaze and saw the peace and wonder on his countenance. His eyes moved about the large food area from one scene to another. He was home. He knew how loved he was and the world was a magical, beautiful playground to him. My sweet, strong, gentle warrior. This gift God gave me that I never thought I would be granted. He was in perfect peace.
They… were not. Again, I noticed the Lord spoke nothing to me, and there was not a thought in my head that I cared to speak to Father about in that moment. In that moment, I thought only of them.
She immediately turned to me and very sweetly asked if we need the table. I shook my head, not sure if I would be able to talk. I looked at the young man who was still seated, and he gazed up at me with eyes that bore witness to too many things already …
“I remember what it was like to have a single baby. now I have three. I can see it is strong love that keeps you three together. Would you be offended if I prayed for you and your baby?”
The man said nothing, and I knew he wouldn’t. He couldn’t. I knew that already. But she did.
“If you really want to, you can.” she said, tears already welling up in her eyes.
Daniel said nothing, just looked at them, in perfect peace and innocence, as I stooped down a bit to announce we were going to pray. It was a quiet, simple prayer, and I had to stop a moment to finish my words as I felt His love flowing through me toward them. I blessed them. I blessed their child. I proclaimed they would know His love and peace and that Jesus died for them. I claimed protection over their baby now and always. I prayed for their love to grow in truth. Finally, I thanked God for these two beautiful people.
I looked back up at each of them and told them how much God loved them. Tears were rolling down her cheeks and I placed my hand just above the man’s shoulder for the briefest of moments. Then I smiled, turned, and walked back toward the carousel.
Daniel was already looking around again, eyes going to and fro about the court. He didn’t even stop his visual meandering as he asked me in the most causal manner, “Daddy, why did we pray for them?”
My throat closed and my eyes blurred at his words. “why did we pray…?”
In all that I have seen and heard and felt and grieved and loved so far, I’d have never thought I would so soon see my son know the heart of God so purely. Already I can sense he understands some things more clearly than the one who stewards his soul.
They needed God’s love, Daniel.” was all I said.
“Yeah…” he said, looking intently at some aspect of that horrid contraption. ” I know, Dad.”
The love we possess, is the only love we can share with others. I am far from a specimen of love. But He has done so much in me as I have responded to His calling on my heart. There is soooo much left to do in me, but in the words of my estranged brother, Rich Mullins, “..so much You’d already done..”
“Come away with me, David.” I hear Him say…again and again and again. It is in these quiet, often lonely places that we touch His heart, and He touches ours. This is where we are changed. This is the inner courts of His presence. It’s beyond soul, beyond mental ascent, beyond apologetics and doctrines and pre, mid and post tribulation theological debates.
It is Him. It melts the ice that so quickly can grow in my heart, and is the salve on my eyes. He is my Balm of Gilead. One day I shall learn to abide there always. Until that time, I’ll keep answering the call to come away with Him. And if I have found favor with any of you, pray He touches my heart more.
I need so much more… The Lord has so much more to give… It comes through His presence. It comes through His Church, His beloved.
It comes through you…