I.

It all started with a dream last week,

About a friend I hadn’t seen in more than a decade,

And hadn’t talked to in six years.

Even though it had been so long

And so much life had passed us by,

I realized how important he still is to me.

My love for him and his family is as strong as ever.

And that dream made me take a look at the tapestry of my relationships

And realize somebody was missing.

 

I’ve been in and out of memory mode lately.

Reminders of things I used to do.

Of people who are now in heaven.

Of what rain looks like (if you have to ask, never mind).

Of former places of service and ministry.

Most of them are memories I’m very grateful for,

But can never re-live or recapture.

And in sizing up my heart, I’ve found myself trying to pretend

That I had forgotten it all and moved on without a care.

But in the sizing and pretending, I’ve found something missing.

 

It’s crazy to live as though we’re untouched by old friends.

It’s crazy to pretend that our days gone by

Have no value or relationship to our lives today.

And though He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows,

If you’re looking for a memory-free cave,

Where no one touches your life and you don’t touch anybody else’s,

You’re going to find… forever…

That something’s missing.

 

II.

I’ve seen a few reminders lately

That what’s expected of us is nothing short of perfection.

A holy God sits on His throne,

And His expectations are not watered down

By weakness or weariness or wicked companions.

And I looked at the best of my efforts

Against the flawless standards of righteousness,

And even on my best day, something was missing.

 

But I looked for the image of my life under judgment

And expected to see me sentenced to die.

But all I saw instead was the love shining in His eyes

As Jesus willingly, boldly, silently went

Like a sheep to the slaughter for me.

And as I looked at the place of the wages of sin,

Fully expecting to hear my name called,

Someone – namely I – was missing.

 

It’s crazy to expect that our own goodness has merit.

It’s crazy to dare to face judgment alone.

But because He was wounded for all our transgressions

And crushed for the little sins we tend to ignore,

We who have seen and believed can stand fully pardoned,

Completely redeemed from the curse of our sin.

And if you’re waiting to hear the accusations made against you,

You’re going to find… forever…

That something’s missing.

 

III.

I’ve been interrupted lately by a lifeless sensation

That God is at the mercy of public opinion.

His church powerless, His people purposeless,

I yearned again for the shout of victory

And evidence that He who is in me is greater than He who is in the world.

So in defeat I went back to that tomb,

Looking for proof that my fears were justified.

And as I looked for the corpse of the Hope of the Ages,

I found to my wonder and joy everlasting… something was missing.

 

So maybe it’s something in me, I thought.

Something in my performance.

Something in my ability to please others.

Something in my worth that robbed me of those once-magic feelings

And made the waiting harder and the world more hostile.

So I looked in earnest for all the reasons to feel worthless,

And all I could find was the light of eternity and the hope of His return.

And as I looked in vain for proof of my shame,

All I could see was, something’s missing.

 

It’s crazy to confuse God’s silence with His death.

It’s crazy to give heed to the shrill accusations of shame.

For though we like sheep have gone astray,

And each has turned to his own lifeless way,

The Lord has laid all our iniquity –

Including our powerless religion and hidden shame – on Him.

So if you’re looking for reasons to give up hope

Or to believe that your waiting is all in vain,

You’re going to find… forever…

That something’s missing.

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