A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases strength. Proverbs 24, verse 5.
There are times when writing these come easy, and there are times when they don’t. Today, I’m in the latter. We all have up’s and down’s, and after a particularly emotional week and day, I’m more down. I don’t feel wise; I don’t think I have power (let alone great power); I don’t feel like much of a man; I don’t think I am knowledgeable; I feel weak. I’m prone to periodic battles with the blues, and among the tribulations in my life, they’re in this moment.
That’s a deception that the enemy easily plays, you know. The enemy, the prince of the world, is a coward. He hits us where we are tender and weak; his most effective weapon is doubt. He plants seeds of doubt in us that feed our tendencies to think we are nothing.
And let’s face it: we really, truly, can be a whole bag of nothing. I am the worst of sinners you know. Your sins are bad, very bad. I can top them with mine. You’ve done things worthy of being shunned; I have been shunned and deserved it. You’ve done things worthy of eternal damnation, of labeling you for the chief of sinners you are. I can beat that. I’ll see your sins and raise you some. There are times when writing these words isn’t easy because there are times when I realize what a damned wreck of a human being I am. The enemy plays on those thoughts, plants doubt, and makes the sin increase.
But you see that line of thinking goes only so far. Specifically, it goes only to the cross. The buck stops there and only there. Compared to He who is there, we are nothing…and yet, He’s there for us. He knew He would be there when He spoke us into existence and declared us “very good,” not nothing. There, at that terrible cross, the damned sinner is forgiven. There, the raised sins are eliminated. There at that bloody execution, the shunning stops, the one-upmanship of my sins over yours is rendered moot. At the foot of the cross, there is only you and Him, me and Him. There, you and I fall on our knees and confess that we’ve done such terrible things, and with a drop of His blood, he washes away the shame and stain and guilt we feel and says “I forgive you. Forgive yourself. I love you.”
I love you. Truly amazing, you know. “Phenomenal cosmic power in an itty bitty living space;” very Aladdin words, with so much power jam packed into three simple words. Words mean things. We will live and die for words. Those three words are the ones we should live and die for. They don’t come easy either: they were redeemed with eternity. And because that happened, even when it doesn’t feel easy, the wise man wields great power, and he knows in his heart that there is strength in this life. He knows in his soul that it is his soul that has strength because of that sprinkling of holy blood into his own. “I love you.” They are both statement and action; philosophy and life, emotion and reason. They are the beginning of the conversation and the last words we hear. They demand action and they drive action, everything we can do. But without them the action is meaningless. I love you: they are the great power and they are knowing strength. They are all we hear from Him, in every word He spoke. They are the Alpha and the Omega. Him. We get to share that and, when we do, we are something.
I’m given to bouts with depression. When I’m sad, there is good reason; when I am distraught, I feel little consolation. In times like these, things don’t come easy indeed. In times like these, I feel like I’m under attack by the enemy from Eden. In times like these, though, it’s best to remember that “I love you” is all you need. Everything else flows from it.