"Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it - because it does."
(1 Corinthians 14:1)
"Trey, tell Daddy, 'I love you, Daddy.' "
"What that mean, Momma?"
How do you explain to a two year old the concept of love? I kept it simple. Love, I told him, is when we miss Daddy when he's at work. Love is the hug we give Daddy when he walks in the door. Love is turning off our movie to spend time with Daddy.
"Oh, okay. I lub you, Daddy!"
In January I attended a women's retreat. I'll write more about it later, but for today I wanted to share something I experienced:
Following a session that took us through Jesus' betrayal and crucifixtion, I was reflecting on the the meaning that the crucifixtion held for me, personally. For whatever reason, I've struggled with the whole concept of the crucifixtion - I understood the biblical accounts, I believed it was necessary, I accepted it as necessary sacrifice, but I missed the connection between love and sacrifice. In the past four months, I have been asking God if he would give me the opportunity to feel, in my heart, the love he had for me.
During this meditation time, I began to write. What follows are the words as I wrote them in my journal:
"...it is as if the Holy Spirit is showing me Trey and the question becomes - Would I die for Trey? Would I endure all that if I could guarantee him eternal life?
And then it clicked.
Yes, I would do that for my son. I would do that for my flesh, the son of my heart, the son of God's promise. And there it is. Just as a spark shoots away from the source of the blaze, the love that I have for my son is just a spark compared to the bonfire of God's love for me. His choice to be here, knowing what was to come, what he endured, what he KNEW he would endure - all that on the chance that I would choose to accept his sacrifice for myself. No guarantees. No guilt trip. No 'you owe me'. No pressure. No forcing or pushing.
He died so I would have the opportunity to choose.
The cross is more than a sacrifice - that word can not completely capture all it needs to convey. The cross is the physical anguish, the emotional devestation, the spiritual isolation - these things are the cross.
But the cross is also forgiveness. The cross is the tears God shed, tears of love for his Son, knowing the necessity of the cross, hating the sin that led to that moment, but choosing to forgive us and offer a way out - on the chance that ONE would choose the life offered.
When we accept Jesus' sacrifice, we do more than dodge eternity in hell.
We do more than receive forgiveness.
When we accept the sacrifice, we give VALUE to the sacrifice that was born from the willingness to forgive.
Freedom is knowing that the cross represents the heart of God - True Love - that no sacrifice is too big for ONE."
ONE. He would have gone through all of it, ALL of it, for one. You.
Someday, Trey will ask me again, 'What does love mean?' Hopefully he'll be old enough for me to tell him: Love was Jesus' choice to suffer on the chance that you would choose to accept.
Love is a risk.
And Jesus said YOU are worth the risk.
"We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."
(1 Corinthians 10:24b MSG)