The cloak & the rain

One particularly cold morning from back in my college days seems to be ingrained in my brain.  Our professor decided to take us outside for a demonstration of something.  In my memory, there was a white, cold fog on the fringes of my view.  I never used to dress for the weather (I rarely do now) and I was freezing.  I wasn’t the only one.  There was one or two other shivering girls.

Now here is the interesting part.  This was no all-girls’ class.  There were several boys.  I think there was one boy who right away gave up his jacket to a cold girl.  But not one of the rest of them–and I mean not one–offered to give up their jacket for a girl.  In their defense, only a few of them had jackets.  Not in their defense, a few of them did have jackets.

I thought that if I shivered more, this might encourage at least of the guys to be sympathetic.
Well, it did.  Sort-of.

The response the girls’ shivering got on that particularly cold morning seems to be ingrained in my brain, too.  Somebody–and it was one of the guys–mentioned something about it looking bad that there were guys who had jackets and freezing girls with no jackets.  So one of the guys wearing a jacket said something like the following:

“I feel bad.  I would give up my jacket . . but then I would be cold.”

Well, let me tell you, I was hacked.  Really hacked.  The only offer I got for a jacket was from a fellow girl, and I turned her down.  It wasn’t that I was just mad that I didn’t have a jacket.  I was mad that guys were wearing jackets when girls were cold.  I was mad that society had gotten to that point.  And I was most of all mad that one of the guys had even had the audacity to explain his “justification” for not giving up his jacket.

Fast forward in time about 10 years.

Last weekend, I was up visiting my boyfriend, Ben, in PA.  It is hot summer, and I didn’t bring any jackets with me.

The last day I was there (Labor Day), we had planned on going to a Renaissance festival.  Wouldn’t you know it, but a fog set in that day, and it was looking quite overcast.

I wasn’t cold at all when we got there.  Ben, who lives on the hub of the Ren faire festival, has this great Medieval cloak he wears when he goes up there.  So he was wearing that, even though it was hot.

We got about 25 minutes, perhaps, before the festival became more authentic to olde England.  It started misting, unpleasantly.  Then drizzling.

At first, Ben tried holding his cloak over me, but it was pretty hard to walk like that.  And more so than that–I will admit it–I was wondering, Would he give me his cloak to wear? so, yes, I was over-accentuating the difficulty of walking that closely together.

I’ve known Ben long enough to know that he would give up his jacket in a heartbeat for a cold girl.  But this cloak is more than a jacket.  It is pretty special to him.  He’s had it for a long time, and the Ren faire is a big deal up there.

Ben immediately gave me his cloak.  Now this in and of itself is impressive, but in what follows, it becomes way more so.

The weather changed from merry England rain to something more suitable for a Noah’s ark festival.  It absolutely poured.  I mean soaked.  Ben was literally, totally, absolutely, positively drenched.

In the meantime, because Ben is about five-and-a-half inches taller than me, I kept stepping on his cloak.  It was a tripping hazard for others, too.  It was dragging on the road and I wasn’t being all that careful where I was walking.  In truth, I was being less careful, because I was wondering what his reaction would be.  Now this wasn’t this huge plot of anything.  But I was curious, and I was treating the whole cloak thing more or less like it didn’t matter whether or not I stepped on it.  And, also in honesty, I can tend to be a very self-centered person and not particularly care about what is important to someone else.

The look on Ben’s face absolutely amazed me.

There was this very clear sense of pain in his eyes about what was happening to his favorite cloak, and there was a very direct sense of love that overruled taking the cloak away.

I really don’t know what I was expecting–but it wasn’t that.

I have felt unbeautiful and “unworth it” in my life.  And so this is one of those memories that will stay with me for eternity.  I couldn’t believe he could love me–mess that I am–so much.

Cloak 1

I had the whole plane ride back to reflect about the cloak & the rain.  And sometime in that reflection I realized that God had given me a glimpse of something heavenly.

Do you realize, did you know, that God gave up His Son for us like a cloak in the rain?  But we’re not talking about a piece of cloth here.  We are talking about the Son of God.  One of a kind, perfect, irreplaceable, treasured by the Father above all else.

And yet God gave His Son to be our cloak.  Knowing, knowing that Jesus would be misused, stepped on, torn, muddied–that His body would be ruined in the process of cloaking us from the consequences of our sin . . God gave Him to us anyway.

Jesus comes as a cloak to spread over us.  He is our barrier from the fires of Hell.  He has been buffeted by the blows of Hell that should have been ours.

My example of the cloak is a deeply imperfect one . . and yet God has used it to once again widen and deepen my understanding of what He did when He gave Jesus to come to earth for us.

Do you realize that He wants to cloak you?  There is nothing you can do to earn it, but God wants to give you the very most precious gift of highest worth in the universe: His very Son.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.” (Jesus, quoted in John 3:16, the Message paraphrase)


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One Comment

  1. This was very touching, Teej.

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