Judy and I have just returned from spending a couple days with our grand kids in Kansas City, Ks. I usually learn some spiritual lesson as I spend time with the kids. This time it was related to the time I spend with my four year old grandson, Grant. He and I made a trip up the hill to the park to play in the sand that covered the volleyball court. We brought along a tonka trunk and bulldozer to do some “dirty work.” We were both “pumped” to get “down and dirty.” It was great fun – just Grant and dear old grandpa. I was just hoping that no one else would see a 70 year old man getting “down and dirty” in the sand.
As I was playing on my hands and knees with Grant, I just got the sense that my “Abba” Father in heaven wanted me to know that his love reaches down to my lowest place, that is, into the dirt of my soul. Philippians makes it very clear that Jesus came down to our level. “When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human. Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process” (Phil 2:7-8 – The Message). While Grant and I were getting dirty physically, I struggle with being spiritually dirty. I am learning to be a “beloved sinner.” My dirt does not keep Jesus away. He is right there with me, wanting me to turn to him. My problem has been shame, guilt and vulnerability. This has kept the focus on me and not Jesus, hindering me from seeing Jesus with me in the dirt.
Listen to what Robert Mulholland says regarding this very point. He talks of “the cruciform love of Christ” for fallen humanity. How is this love expressed. Not just in ideas or some outward expression. But in the very depth of our soul, that is, in our dirt. In those hidden places that we have not exposed to the love of God. “When we turn away from God’s love and become a self-referenced person….Christ’s love continues to enfold and indwell us, now as a cruciform love at the heart of our false self. Even when we are most alienated from God by our self-referenced life, we are still loved.” This I am finally starting to grasp. God really loves me in my dirt. My heavenly Father first comes to me in love. It is the fear of surrender on my part that keeps him from being with me in my dirt.
So playing there in the dirt with Grant, God was speaking to me while I’m played. Grant just went about enjoying making trails with his bulldozer. He was as peaceful and content as a little guy could be in the dirt. He know it was safe and secure with grandpa being present in the dirt with him. While I was doing my best to enter into the moment, I was also aware of the surroundings, my aching body, along with the time element. Oh, to be more like Grant in my dirt. Learning to surrender to the present moment with all my dirt is not easy. But maybe I learned something there on the hill in the dirt. It does not matter what I think or feel; my heavenly Father has come all the way into my dirt in Jesus. He just waits for me to be willing to surrender to his “cruciform love.” He is right there loving me not as I should be but just as I am in the dirt.