A couple of years ago, I was encouraged to ask the Father, who He is, or more specifically, who He is for me and to me.
I was taken aback by His answer.
He said, “I am the One who is vulnerable before you. I am the One who bares His heart to you.”
I was reminded of those words as I was pondering the Incarnation, as we approach Christmas again.
A vulnerable God. It almost sounds like a contradiction. Surely, by definition (at least according to most people) God is always in control, and therefore, never truly vulnerable in any meaningful way.
But is that really the God that Jesus revealed?
He was born as a baby to a teenaged peasant, in an occupied country with an insecure king, who almost immediately wanted to kill Him.
He was vulnerable growing up, entrusting Himself to parents who did their best.
Later on, He was vulnerable before His followers, some of which, got to see Him laugh, cry, weep, sweat, bleed…
He was vulnerable again during His betrayal, trial and death. He allowed Himself to be betrayed by the kiss of a friend. He offered no defense at His trial and He died, naked, in public, as a criminal. He was vulnerable again, this time entrusting Himself to enemies, who did their worst.
A Son reflecting His Father as the Vulnerable One
In fact, it seems to me that those who chose to be near Him also had to embrace vulnerability.
Mary and Joseph: Could you be any more vulnerable than them to accusation and excommunication from His conception to His birth and on into His ministry years?
The Twelve: They were clearly afraid of what the authorities might do to them. So, so vulnerable to guilty by association.
The Wise Men: They only met Him for a few minutes, and it put a target on their backs.
Vulnerability, chosen, embraced vulnerability, the price of being close to Jesus.
What a contrast to most people, to me. We are almost always aiming for at least a little bit of control.
Controlling others, controlling situations, controlling something…
Anything is better than vulnerability, than trust.
So, I find myself asking, “Can I reciprocate? Can I be vulnerable before Him, as He has chosen to be vulnerable before me?”
“Can I lay down my fig leaves and, once again, walk naked and unashamed with my Father in the cool of the day?”
“Can I carry that vulnerability before others?”
You know me.
You know every single one of my weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Yet You exploit none of them. I truly love You for that!
So, I invite You into the sad places, the dark places, the broken and disappointed places of my life.
Bring Your light and Your life and, most of all, Your love. You are Immanuel, God with us, the Vulnerable One.