It hit me most unexpectedly, a few months back while watching the movie ‘Risen’ with my family. You know, one of those moments where a scene grasps your heart and finds a way to reside there long after the moment is gone? It’s one of those little ways God sneaks in when you least expect it.
I wasn’t ready for it.
As I watched the movie, the man who played Jesus struck me like no other actor playing ‘Jesus’ ever had. Every scene, it was like his eyes were piercing, his gentleness and compassion so extraordinarily portrayed. I couldn’t even grasp how this actor made Jesus so different for me compared to other actors as I sat watching. The longer I watched, I soon figured it out. He was the Jesus with whom I had come to identify with my entire life. The Jesus who I’d read and learned about as a child. The Jesus whose story and parables I have heard countless times.
He was MY Jesus, my friend, mentor and confidant who played the familiar roles in my head and memories all these years. He who has shared my joys and sadness and seen me at my weakest and greatest moments.
Just as I’m coming to this revelation, a scene comes into view and I recognize that I can also identify with the soldier, Clavius, He is so recognizable because he is ME. He is there, after the resurrection, by the sea of Galilee at night and while the disciples sleep. Clavius awakens and sits next to Jesus. They look at one another and Clavius speaks, saying, “I don’t even know what to ask”. You see, there’s been this inner turmoil and questions that Clavius cannot comprehend because his human mind cannot explain them. Jesus looks to Clavius with compassion and gently says, “Speak your heart.”
No longer is it just the characters with whom I can establish a connection, but their words as well. They struck a chord and have since resonated in my heart. My eyes have brimmed with tears nearly every time this scene replays in my mind because I have come before Jesus countless times admitting the same thing. I have failed at relationships, been uncharitable, lacked humility and severed ties from actions that would speak that I am a Christian. I have failed. I’ve come up short, but he already knows this and loves me just the same.
I don’t even know what to ask.
Too often, this is me in prayer and in my relationship with Jesus. I come to him full of needs and desires, prayers for me and for others, but yet, with no words to speak. My human longing to really know Jesus and live a faith filled life with him, too easily gets lost in the hustle and bustle. My daily conversations with Jesus take a backseat to human interactions and acts of daily survival. I feel a strain in our relationship because perhaps things just aren’t going my way and I feel my heartfelt prayers will never be answered. As I walk into church and look to him to fill me, I approach with reservation not knowing where to begin again. Not knowing what to ask.
I’ve come to find that it’s okay to come humbly to Jesus, acknowledging that I don’t know what to ask, how to pray and how to quit making these same mistakes. What I’ve also learned is that Jesus turns to me and is ready to forgive, love and hear me as he leads me to speak my heart. He’s ready to listen. With intent eyes, he speaks love that is overflowing from his heart as a father to his child.
Do you struggle to find the words in your prayer or conversations with Christ? Do you find it difficult to reconnect with him after being busy and keeping distant in your relationship with him? He still knows you and calls you by name. He’s ready to listen even if you aren’t ready to speak or don’t know what to say.