Tears streamed down her lightly freckled cheeks. Blue eyes swam in emotion—an emotion she couldn’t quite identify. As she read, she occasionally whispered his name, followed by the question “why?” She paused to wipe her eyes and then continued reading. As repulsed as she was riveted. Finally, from her stool at the kitchen counter, she looked over to where I was sitting at the table.
“Mama, did you know he did this?” she asked with breathless horror. “Did you know they did all of that to him?”
Seeing the tears in my little girl’s eyes made it difficult for me to speak. “Yes,” I whispered, nodding solemnly.
“But why? Why would they do that to him?” she demanded. “How could they do that to him?”
She looked down at the precious book open before her—to the pages containing words written in the color of the innocent blood that was shed.
“And how could he let them do that to him?” she asked, touching the pages she had just read.
“It was the only way we could be with him,” I answered, feeling the weight of the moment deep in my soul.
She knew the answer—had given the answer countless times. But this day was different. Something seismic had shifted in her young life.
This day, the truth which she had heard others speak of so many times—truth which had taken residence in her head—was now, as she read it for herself, being etched deep into her heart.
“He loves us that much,” she said, her words full of a new awareness.
Her nine-and-a-half year old hands caressed the pages of the Bible. Her head bowed in reverent acceptance of his gift.
“I love him so much,” she said, allowing her tears to flow freely—effectively releasing my own.
I went to her. We hugged each other and cried—cried for the pain and humiliation our Savior endured on our behalf. Cried tears of joy that because of his sacrifice we have Hope and a future. Cried because our tears are often the conduit which carries truth from head to heart.
My little girl had verbally trusted in Jesus many years before. She has known that he died for her, rose again, and is the only way to the Father for sometime. She has been his child since the day she cried over her sin—her awareness of her sin—and asked Jesus to take it away so she could be with Him. And yet the day she sat at the kitchen counter, the roots of her faith pushed their way into her heart.
For it was that moment, the moment when she read the words for herself—when she allowed Jesus to speak directly to her—that her faith became rooted in Him. Not a faith in my faith. Not a faith in a Sunday school lesson. But a faith deeply rooted in the person of Jesus. A relationship with the One who endured the cross for her.
Her faith became a relationship.
A relationship with the same Savior who stands at each of our kitchen counters (or anywhere we are) and invites us in—into his family, into his arms, into a relationship with him. Can you hear him? Can you hear him whisper your name? Can you see the scars he bears—scars which testify to the depths he went to have a relationship with you?
That’s what Jesus longs to have with us. That is why he endured the cross. That is why he conquered sin and death. That is why the first words spoken on the newly risen Savior’s lips was a name.
“Mary,” he spoke softly, invitingly.
Her name serving as a place holder for my name. For your name.
Can you hear your name on his lips?
He calls even now.
The One who endured the cross on Friday is the same who triumphed over death on Sunday. All so He could have a relationship with us.
He is risen. He is risen indeed.