That pirate that I spend so much time with recently lent me a book called “I’m the Legend of the Son of Man.” That book made me cry today.
The book, a privately published novel, tells the life story of Jesus in first person. It actually sticks pretty closely to the events chronicled in the Gospels, although it naturally adds quite a bit as it describes Jesus’ growing years and daily life.
It does have one premise with which I disagree, mostly because of Jesus’ statement in John 8:58— “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am”: the idea that Jesus operated as much on sheer faith as we do. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that He never doubted or questioned who He really was. But it did raise to me this interesting question: How omniscient was he when he lived down here? When he predicted Peter’s denial, was that a prophetic revealing to him by the Spirit at that time? Or did he know as he walked the earth, for Peter as well as David and the rest of us, “the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them”? (Psalm 139:16). Hmmm.
But that isn’t what made me cry.
After meandering through the first two-thirds of the book over several weeks of work lunch-breaks, today I took a blanket and a Coke out on my little back deck and, while attempting to sunburn my legs, finished the book.
There’s another part of my story that needs filling in here before I go on: In the summer of 2003 I fell in love with God in dazzling, incredible new ways. “You ride on wind, and you hide in darkness,” I wrote him. “You’re an adventure wherever we go…” I titled the song “Endless Glory” and have sung it in church.
And I thought, with absolutely no intention of being arrogant, that I finally loved God in such a way as could not be shaken.
Then, of course, in 2004 and 2005, the three main pillars that had built up my faith in that one blessed year imploded rather dramatically. I got shaken, all right—rattled loose in the central chambers of my being—and spent several months in an emotional hell that became physical in its destructive heat; a form of suffering that I never, ever want to face again.
Since December of 2004, much of my experience in faith and love for God has been blind determination and stirrings of an ache for the passion, joy and hope I’d lost and wondered if it were even possible to regain.
Somehow, in the last chapter of that book, Jonathan Cring managed to infuse some of that resurrective joy into his words.
I read through the final page, closed the book, and welcomed the tears because they poured out of a tenderness toward God and a hope in heaven that I haven’t felt in a year and a half.
I don’t know why you wanted me to read that book, Brandon, you can tell me one of these days… but thanks.
Sometimes I write songs out of life’s experiences. Other times, I write and then proceed to live out the lines (not on purpose, but it happens!) This song was both.
“You keep me asking and you keep me guessing
You’re a mystery that plays with my mind
You leave me so blessed, and then you leave me helpless
You’re surprising me all of the time
And you make me angry, hurting me on purpose
And then you show me what love really means
You’re my God, you’re my deepest story
You’re everything that I was made for
Loving you is an endless glory
I’m forever wanting more”