I was 11 yrs old – and an altar boy! (From “Altar Boy” to “Altar Call” – well, that’s another story). I was 11 yrs old – and an altar boy! In a church! Wearing a long white robe! Lighting candles!
People, filled with fright, were suddenly, hurriedly rushing out of the sanctuary. I heard their voices but could not understand what they were saying. Then, I heard a loud sound – 'gbaam' – a small altar boy on the other side of the sanctuary carrying a golden vessel filled with incense dropped it to the cold, stone floor as he too ran from the sanctuary. A hush of horror came over me as I quietly cowered behind several pews near the front of the church.
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I could hear an angry voice shouting but it seemed far away, yet dangerously near. It was a hostile demanding voice. It was the voice of a man – a man shouting angrily! In fear, people were running from the church. I was stunned. I was shaken. The yelling and shouting voice -- was getting closer and closer – to me!
“Come down from that cross! If you are the Son of God, come down from that cross!”
Above me the dying figure of Christ, carved in stone, was fastened to a large stone cross -- a huge crucifix! As I stood there, cowering in fear, looking at the hard, cold chiseled face of the man, then at the hard, cold chiseled face of the Christ, I felt myself shaking, rocking back in forth, filled with inward trembling and fear. The man’s eyes were wild and wide with uncontrollable rage. He stared, disorientated, half-crazed, shouting angrily at the dead figure of Christ carved in stone that hung above me. He raised one of his fists defiantly into the air, then lowered it to point an accusing finger toward the crucifix, screaming like a madman at the stone figure of Jesus.
“Come down from that cross! Come down from that cross!"
Faint and trembling, a nervous little priest wearing a long flowing black robe came into the sanctuary from behind the altar.
“Sir, please, sir. Look carefully. This Christ is but stone. He cannot hear you. He cannot come down. He is not real.” As the priest spoke, the angry man’s eyes met my eyes. I stood motionless beneath the sanctuary lamp by a rack of candles – simply staring into his eyes. Then he turned his eyes away from me and began to weep.
When the priest said “He is not real” the man looked at me again then nodded his head toward me as a single tear slowly crawled down his cheek. Behind that tear was a hidden language whose meaning I did not then understand – I was only 11 yrs old! Only later, as an adult, would I see that tear crawl down my own cheek – then I heard the language -- and understood!”
When you come to the place where nothing matters -- nothing but hearing from God -- and, God seems strangely silent – then you will hear – as the tear slowly crawls down your cheek -- and you will understand! Know this: The LORD is near, very near – and He hears your cry. He sees your tears, your heartbreak, your disappointment and your pain. The Christ made with human hands is not real! The Christ, the Son of God! He who is Very God of Very God -- He is not only real but He weeps with your weeping. He is touched by your weeping and by your anguish of heart. He gathers your tears in His bottle and records them in His book. You are loved! You are remembered in heaven at the throne of God Himself (Psalm 56:8)
Listen now -- hear the language – and understand!
From When I Can't Find God by Dr. John Dee Jeffries