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Friday, August 12, 2011

My Command Is This:

I don't do too well with goodbyes. Growing up in the mission field, we had to learn quickly how to say goodbye to our best friends, childhood pets, favourite homes, and a myriad of family members on a regular basis. We moved from country to country, never returning to a stable home base, and while we were resilient, it did affect us. I remember reaching the point where I could wave goodbye to my granny as we drove off in the cold English fog on our way to the airport, and hardly a tear would fall. It wasn't that I was heartless; I'd just learned that tears wouldn't accomplish anything. We would still have to say goodbye and leave people behind.

Today, any kind of loss becomes akin to grieving a death for me. As we grow older, people die, friends move away, our siblings find their own places in life, and we have to learn how to hold on with open hands. As I have pondered how I process loss, especially each time someone dear to me passes away, I started to think about the emotions that we encounter in the midst of our grieving.  

We were made in God's image, and while often we think of that including our character, and perhaps our physical body, not much is mentioned about being made like Him in our emotions as well. I think that some of our emotions came after the fall, emotions such as fear, anger, shame, guilt, loneliness, depression, and others. I also think, though, that other emotions were there before the fall. Love, peace, joy, contentment, trust, and the list goes on.

How do you think God felt when He decided to let Jesus come to this earth? I've often heard the story, many sermons have been preached about Jesus' sacrifice, and some of them have also touched on God the Father's sacrifice in giving up His own son. But when I began to really think about it in context of my own losses in life, it became very much more real to me.

God looked down on the earth, and He saw you, He saw me. He saw me making choices that would lead to my death because I was unable to resist sin on my own. He had such compassion on me and He longed for me to be with Him in heaven, but He knew that it wasn't possible if it was left up to me to figure it out. So He did the only thing that could be done. He accepted Jesus' decision to come to earth, to a place that had been ruined by sin and Satan, to live the perfect life in my stead.

God must have known the risk. He must have known that Jesus would be faced with temptations greater than any that I have been faced with. He must have known that there was the possibility that if Jesus made one misstep, that would mean eternal death for me and that Jesus would never return to heaven. God must have known and yet He allowed Jesus to go forward.

The ability to sacrifice to that level, the necessity of having to take Jesus' life at the cross, and the miracle of giving His life back to Him at the resurrection, that is truly the mystery of Godliness. I cannot even begin to understand, but I am slowly seeing just a tiny part of the amazing depth of love and connection that God has for me. His desire to save me was stronger than His desire to save Himself.

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." ~John 15:13, NIV

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