Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Love Story

Still thinking about the cross. Easter may be over, but, the Lord keeps bringing me back to the cross.

This week 3 things keep running through my mind. LOVE, OBEDIENCE, and REDEMPTION.

I said in my post below that the sacrifice at the cross was the ultimate tragic love story. But, as I thought about it more this week, the whole Bible itself is a love story. God created man and woman for a personal, intimate relationship. He met them every evening to walk in the garden. He poured Himself into them, spent time with them. But, sin separated them. And it wasn't just a wedge between them. It was a deep expanse, a great chasm that they could never even hope to cross. -In any relationship, isn't that the way we feel when someone we love has been unfaithful? Or there has been a betrayal of some sort? Here, the betrayal was within. We loved ourselves more than we loved Him. We put ourselves and what we wanted above Him. I say "we" as in the way Adam and Eve represented all of us, as mankind. And He has been spending every moment since that moment at the beginning of time, trying to bridge that chasm between us. He, the one who was betrayed, has been actively trying to draw us back to Himself. Not force us, although He could have. After all, He is God. But, He knew that wasn't the kind of love He wanted from us. He did not want a love that reflected just respect, reverence, or our obedience. He wanted all of us. Forever. He wanted to win back our hearts. He desperately wants us to fall in love with Him all over again. And He will go to any lengths to accomplish that. He didn't just say, "I will give up all that I am, all that I have to be with you." He did it. He took off his crown, laid His glory aside, and became a man just to be with us. He didn't just say, It doesn't matter who you are, or what you have done, I still love you. And I'll give up all that I have, all that I hold dear and spend eternity to proving that to you." Because He did that too, by giving up His son to die in our place. And even after all that He still spends all of our life time chasing after us, trying to prove over and over again that we can take Him at His word. That my friends is true Love.


He loves fully and completely and he wants the same from us. All or nothing. There is no half way with Him. He sacrificed everything, he stormed the gates of hell and took away the power death had over us. So, many times we think of God has so far away, and distant. We feel alone and believe the lies that He could never understand how we feel or what it is we are going through. But, all we have to do is look at Gethsemane. Matthew 26:38-44 tells us.....

Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."
When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.
So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Luke 22: 41-44 also tells us.....

He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

He cried out to His Abba Father, just as we have so many times our selves, afraid, and with heavy hearts. He prayed, "Father, is there any other way? Is there any other way?" And yet despite His fear, He was still obedient to His father. Our hero proved that true love does conquer all.

In John 16: 33 Jesus tells us, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

What a sacrifice! What a price to pay for love. One, I know none of us would be willing to make. To give up our innocent child to be beaten, tortured and murdered in someone else's place. No one is worth the life of my child, much less thieves, murderers, and adulterers. I can honestly say I wouldn't give up my child or lay my child's life down for anyone. It is simply incomprehensible to me. But, that is exactly what God did. He paid a very high price to redeem us.

In her book, Jesus the One and Only, Beth Moore says that few teachings are more important and consistent in God's word than the doctrine of redemption. The Hebrew word padhad, means "to redeem by paying a price."
Ephesians 1 :7 says, "in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace."
Beth Moore also says in her book that as was Jewish custom Mary and Joseph presented their first born son to the Lord, symbolizing the act of giving him up by saying, "He is yours and we give him back to you."Then they immediately redeemed him or, in effect, bought him back. And Christ came here to buy us from our natural parentage, which is sinful flesh, to give us to His Father.

The cross and redemption stir a mix of emotions within me. One the one hand, I am ashamed and disgusted at the thought that my life costs Jesus his own, and God His son. It hurts to think someone had to die for me because the "wages of sin (my sin) are death." (Romans 6:23) It takes my breath away. And yet I am thankful and grateful beyond belief. But, grateful can not adequately describe what I feel either. There is even a part of me that feels honored. I feel treasured, like one of His most prized possessions. His love overwhelms me. I have never known love and devotion so great, so far reaching, so unlimited, so all encompassing, so unconditional. It makes me want to live a life worthy of that love.

I know I could never be worthy, but because I love Him I want to live a life that bears fruit. A life that says I am His and He is mine. And on that great day of judgement, when the book of my life is opened, I want it to be a love story. I hope it will be a life that reflects the greatest love story ever told.

5 comments:

Denise said...

God bless your precious, faithful heart.

Sarah Mae said...

Great post - greatest love story ever!

Love your passion!

luvmy4sons said...

Amen!

demetria said...

preach on, sister!!! take us to church anytime, anywhere lovie. you are precious and so inspiring to me. i love you!

CrazyCarellis said...

Wonderful post as always!