There is nothing like knowing that you are loved by someone else. But, what if that love was just a hope you harbored?
God’s heart was broken by the disobedience of His son and daughter, Adam and Eve. Of all the things that God created, Man was the only living thing that He formed with His own hands (Genesis 1:27). Everything else, He “spoke” into existence. What care must have gone into shaping each part from the dust.
When His beautiful creation betrayed Him, they were cast from the Garden of Eden but not from His heart (Genesis 3:15). God had already decided that something must be done so that Man could again walk and talk with Him as their loving Father.
Fast forward. A long-prophesied child is born on a cold night in a dank and smelly stable. He entered the world without pomp and circumstance at the request of His Father (Isaiah 9:6). Mary, Jesus’ mother, knew that her son had a greater purpose but that didn’t stop her from loving him as her own sweet child.
Jesus was not a part of His Father’s plan; He was the plan. He shared with others the truth that God loved them. He was not just some supernatural being in unseen realms who passed judgment on the inhabitants of the earth. He was waiting patiently for something – the return of His beloved creation to His arms. For that to happen, He had to have a sacrifice.
You may know the next part of the story but do you know how it felt? Jesus was born to die for a sinful creation that had turned its back on their God. This fact didn’t negate the reality of what this meant – hatred, loneliness, sadness, unspeakable torture and excruciating death.
More than one heart was crushed during that fateful Passover week. Jesus was distressed to the point of deepest anguish over what He knew He had to endure. He even asked His Father to “remove this cup” from His lips. After much sorrow, He resolved to do what was asked of Him no matter what (Matthew 26:36-42).
Mary followed her son as He journeyed, bloodied and injured, to the place He would die. Crucifixion was a humiliating death instituted by the Romans for criminals. She watched as her son was nailed and hung on a wooden cross, to suffocate to death. All she could do was watch as He cried out to God (Matthew 27:46).
Heaven was not spared the pain of this sacrifice either. God had allowed His Only Son to be beaten and killed like a common criminal in hopes that we would return to Him. The earth shook violently and rocks split when Jesus died. Everyone knew then that God was Jesus’ father.
I have been the recipient of that love. I know what it is like to feel that God considers me precious in His sight. He held back nothing, even His own child, to gain access to my heart again. When my concern for the life of my own child nearly broke me in two, God tenderly caught my tears in His hands and healed me everywhere I hurt. He didn’t ask for my child, but protected her life – for me. In return for such an unfathomable and timeless love, He only asks that I share the precious gifts He has bestowed upon me as a testament of who He is. His, is also my love story.