At times I open letters I get from readers. Some time back I got a note from Lori with this statement in it: “Anyway, Jesus somehow put my dad, my husband, you and Oprah in a mix to help me see Jesus blast away my nearly-life-long and crippling struggle with self-worth.
(I’ve been a Christian for more than 20 years and have never looked in the mirror and seen anything but failure, even though I’ve tried to jump through all the hoops that I suspected would finally get me approval for being alive and being the right kind of Christian.)” I wrote her back, assuring her that Kris and I would pray for her, and now her most recent letter.
Dear Mr. McKnight,
I didn’t think I was going to write to you, again, but here I am.
When I first read your reply below, I was really thankful and I had this thought that Kris was going to pray for me, so I thanked our God for her prayers, whatever they were to be. And, today, I’m writing because I want Kris to know the answer to her prayer, whatever it may have been. (I don’t need to know. I just want to share this experience because we are to share all good things with our teachers.)
What I didn’t tell you in my first email is that a few weeks before writing that email — during the early stages of reading Jesus Creed — I realized that what I wanted most in the whole world was to look in the mirror and see the Lori that Jesus loves.
I’m 47 years old, I have NEVER seen that person, and I gave my life to Jesus back in 1984. I told my husband, my daughter, and my son that that was all I wanted in the whole world. I wanted them to know.
After I told them, I sort of had in the back of my mind that the moment would come, but I didn’t know when it would come. In fact, I never thought about it when I actually looked in the mirror while brushing my teeth or my hair.
And then, today, in the Jesus Creed, page 240: ‘First, Jesus substitutes for us in loving God and others perfectly. The term “substitution” tends to be a little too clinical for what the Bible is getting at, so it is important to observe that, in substituting for us, Jesus also represents us before God in loving God and others.’
All of a sudden, I knew with lightning-quick clarity what that meant. I found myself face-down on the floor, sobbing with what I can only describe as incredible joy, because I FINALLY GOT IT! I was at the feet of Jesus and He was there in all of His holiness and purity and FULL OF LOVE, an incredible yet touchable love. Suddenly, I KNEW that the moment was upon me. I was going to be able to look in the mirror and see the Lori that Jesus loves. I was sobbing and shouting to the angels that I was sure were in the room with me, and I called them to join me as I went to the mirror and saw, for the first time ever, the Lori that Jesus loves. I looked in the mirror, and there I was. 47 years of veiled existence, and now I was seeing myself for the first time. I jumped up and down and yelled my love for Jesus loud enough for the whole neighborhood to hear. Then I said hello to the person I saw in the mirror. And you will never believe what I saw in my eyes. I saw the love of the Lord Jesus Christ in my own eyes. He lives in me, and I am so grateful that I finally know that with certainty.
Thank you for praying for me. You don’t have to write back. I just wanted you to know.
Your sister in the Lord Jesus Christ,