Jesus’ presence ebbs and flows through my six-plus decades. I was tired, exhausted from almost twenty-four hours of traveling, delayed flights and pretty much getting lost trying to find my hotel. Later, after connecting with my friend, we headed out to explore.
Every street that leads to the next square looks much like this. Talk about a maze!
What makes this picture unique is that there are no people present in this moment. Most streets are crowded.
This scene could be anywhere in Venice.
We continued on and found ourselves at a major intersection.
I became aware of church bells ringing, turned and faced a cathedral whose door was open.
I felt the pull so strong I quickly turned and entered. I knew the moment I entered the dimly lit sanctuary on this street corner in Venice, why I came. Because my friend knows me so well, she nudged me, pointing to the sign prohibiting photos and video.
And then, there He was. A sculpture of Jesus hanging on the wall in front of me. She confirmed my first thought that He was carved from marble. Polished to a shine, it was carved in such a way it became a fluid translation of His Holiness. I couldn’t disconnect my eyes from His most tender gaze. He was looking straight into my soul. Tears of gratitude of Him rescuing me and how He loves me filled my eyes.
I don’t remember much else about the chapel that day. Music played. People milled about. It was a very small space compared to the other cathedrals nearby.
I marvel at the relationship I have with Jesus today. His presence in my life story is solid. I stand, humbled by the miracle of it flowing more than ebbing the past few years. And yet, standing there fully present in the moment, I can barely imagine how this relationship will change in the remaining days I walk this earth. And chill bumps cover my arms in anticipation, because I know it will only get better as my days flow by.
I stand before the work of human hands gazing into the eyes of my Saviour Jesus.
I am aware of my feet. Of all things. I wasn’t sure what to do because I couldn’t capture the moment with my camera. How was I going to remember this moment? This was really important.
But I have learned I will because every moment like this has become a building block in my relationship with Jesus. Every chill bump moment creates another piece of my testimony of His presence in my life. Ps.16:11
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
“Please Lord, teach me. Teach me the Holy ways You have prepared for me and give me the courage to walk the path You have laid in front of me. Protect my feet from paths that would lead me from You. Amen”. Hebrews 13:5b
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
God is my refuge, my place of safety because without fail, when I turn to Him, I know I don’t carry this burden of life alone anymore. Psalm 91:1-2
“The person who rests in the shadow of the Most High God will be kept safe by the Mighty One.
I will say about the Lord, “He is my place of safety. He is like a fort to me. He is my God. I trust in him.”
We visited many more cathedrals on our journeys and the craftsmanship of the artists in the centuries past and present have a way of speaking to our souls. Connecting to God through those experiences, observing the interpretation of the artists’ hands focuses us hopefully, on the presence of God in and around us personally.
Our two-week trip ended and as I reflect on our time there, this remains my most spiritual moment. We passed by the church several more times, but I never saw the door open again.
Even though I wasn’t able to take a picture that day, the memory of His loving gaze in those few moments will always fill my heart.
May He also fill yours.
I wait with great anticipation for the day when I meet him face to face.
This is the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in the main square of
Florence, Italy construction began in 1296 and concluded in 1436.
May my prayers endlessly flow to His ears.
May the ebb and flow turn to a fully flowing presence of Jesus’ love into your life.
Janet is a photographer and author on a journey of restoration and learning to be grateful for brokenness. Through photography, travel experiences and writing, she brings together pieces of life in ways that connect with the hurting people who need to know they are not alone. Her heart’s desire is to build a community of hope through sharing Christ all of her days.”