Generally, I have a sixth sense when it comes to sizing up people.
He's standoffish. Probably just shy, uncomfortable in a crowd of people he doesn't know. She's warm, genuine. A bit over the top, but true to herself. These kids just want to hang out; those ones are looking for trouble.
I'm usually correct – this skill has served me pretty well in relationships and in life. But I still make mistakes. I’ve endured friendships that weren’t meant to be. I’ve given up on people who I miss terribly, who I feel I’ve let slip through my fingers too soon.
And Jesus. It took a long time for me to understand who he is, and I'll never really know all of who he is on this side of heaven.
Why did it take me so long to size up Jesus, to see him for who he is? I don’t know. But that's him, isn't it? We aren’t meant to know him all at once. God gives us snippets of his character when we’re ready, so our human brains can take him in, bit by bit.
I was fed the seeds of his true nature when I was a kid in Sunday School. Truthfully, those stories became familiar but were still confusing. How did all the animals get into the ark? Why would God destroy this evil person and yet let those others go? How did Jesus die, and why would he do such a thing for me, for us?
I wasn’t ready then.
After my Sunday School years, the stories faded until all that was left were the memories of having learned them, names and situations smothered by learning that all religion is myth, that our creation story is just that, that we are each responsible for our life events and their outcomes. That God is far away, if anywhere at all.
During that particular period, those other ideas made more sense.
But life events happen, and we meet new people that we size up correctly, and they and others are used by God to teach us the truth and lead us back to the path that he laid out for each of us at the beginning of time.
This is how it happened with me.
The guy at the record store who wouldn’t stop talking about Jesus when I told him that Jesus was just another guy.
The fierce faith of my Grandmother who declared, “If I wasn’t a Christian woman!” in an outburst of frustration when my brother and I fought, bringing us to a full stop.
The high school kids who put on a production at their church that I wholly related to, bringing me to tears.
The earnest sound of a roomful of adults reciting the 23rd Psalm by memory at a funeral, something they had all been taught in childhood.
The guy I married who was unapologetic and unembarrassed by his Christian-heavy upbringing, who never judged me for my nay saying.
I’m so thankful for Jesus and what he did for all of us, but I’m especially thankful that along the path of life, the seeds of truth that were planted within me sprouted and blossomed at just the right times, when I was ready and willing to know the truth.
Over the years, I learned who Jesus is – our Savior and path to eternity. Any sizing up I think I need to do goes through him first. I learn this a little more each time.
Bit by bit.
We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. 1 John 1: 1-4 (NLT)