“…she began to wet his feet with her tears.” —Luke 7:38
She crawled across the floor on her hands and knees, tears pouring.
Oblivious to her desperation, her husband grabbed his car keys and hastily packed bags in a single motion. “Please…don’t leave me!” she begged, reaching for the hem of his slacks. Without a backwards glance, he was gone. What was left of her dignity and self-worth dissolved in tears on the family’s kitchen floor.
When I heard this woman’s story, I ached. It sounded familiar, like the stories of too many women. Like my own. It’s been almost two decades now, but remnants of the prior pain came back as I grieved with this woman’s loss of her marriage. Somewhere in the midst of her desperation, I heard a whisper of the question we all want answered: “Will someone please love me?” This is not a glamorous question.
Admitting our desperation for love leaves us feeling exposed and vulnerable.
But we all long to be loved, to know others see us worthy. The trouble is that there are too many moments when I know I’m anything but worthy. I know the ugliness of my thoughts and actions better than anyone else.
Luke 7 tells the story of another woman who found herself on a kitchen floor. It wasn’t her home, but the floor of a church leader. She’d heard a rumor that a man named Jesus was to eat at this man’s house. His name meant ”God is salvation,” and if ever someone needed saving, she did. I imagine she crawled her way into the man’s kitchen and headed straight to the feet of Jesus. The host and other guests glared in disapproval. A woman with her reputation had no business being in a righteous man’s home.
Having brought an alabaster jar of perfume, she stood behind Jesus, planning to honor him with her gift. Her tears came then, profuse and cleansing. They poured out unhindered on his bare toes, and she wiped them with her hair.
The church leader was appalled. But not Jesus. Behind her desperation, I believe he heard the whisper of her true question:
“Please, please…will you love me?”
We are no different than this woman. We each crave love, acceptance, and forgiveness for our failures.
Doubting our worthiness, we drive ourselves to be enough. We fall at the feet of anyone or anything that might make us feel worthy. Relationships. Profession. Status. Possessions. Appearance. Accomplishment. But it never works, at least not for long. Too often, we end up desperate and crying on the floor.
We’re clinging to the wrong set of feet.
Before whose feet do you kneel? Whose love, approval and acceptance do you secretly crave?
Only One is undeterred by our desperation (Ps. 95:17-19, Matt. 9:36).
Only One knows us fully and loves us still (Ps. 139:1-24, Is. 43:1).
Only One has promised to never grab His keys and leave (Deut. 31:6, Josh. 1:9, Matt. 28:20).
Finally. The feet we’re looking for.
“Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed. … For your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer.”
—Isaiah 49:23, 54:5