As a father there is nothing more that I want to do than to spare my boys pain. There is nothing more difficult as a parent than to watch your children suffer or hurt. One of the hardest things as an adoptive parent is to know that there are so many hidden wounds and hurts that you can never heal. Yet when one of my sons is hurt and they cry out, "Papa!" I run to them. I cannot bear their pain and would willingly take it on me rather than they go through it. When you truly love someone, you would take on their pain willingly. And my love is an imperfect love.
What is harder for a parent than rushing their child to the emergency room?
There's nothing worse than hearing the child's cries as he or she cries, pleads, and begs you not to leave them. That moment when you have to let go of their hand as the doctors and nurses wheel them away from you, behind doors where you cannot go. The deep suffering that hurts like no other hurt you have ever felt. Such desperate prayers are prayed as you wait. The waiting. The waiting is part of the suffering. The not knowing. The wanting only for a doctor to come out and say, "It's all right. Your child is fine . . ."
So I cannot even begin to fathom our Heavenly Father's heartbreak at hearing His only son cry out in agony, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" (Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?) or "Papa, Papa, where are You? Why won't you come to me?"
"For God so loved . . ."
It's a verse that is so familiar that we forget what it really means until we come to remember on Good Friday. This was not some soft, sentimental Hallmark kind of love. It is a brutal, violent, bloody and costly love.
"This is My son in whom I'm well pleased," God spoke over Christ at his baptism. How much more He must have thought these words as the Word hung there on the cross for us.
Are we able to truly behold the cross?
Are we willing to stare at the scars, wounds, blood and suffering without turning away?
Are we willing to stare at the human and the Divine up there on that cross because God so loved?
All anguish. All suffering. A love so deep and so wide that it bore the weight of our sins. If we are to truly be his disciples behold him there in all of his pain. We must. Why? Because to love others, we must first see what real love is.
There on that cross, God asks us, "Do you not see what Love costs?"
You cannot call it love if there is no sacrifice involved.
Sacrifice is not a popular idea in relationships today. If it doesn't feel good, move on. But real love requires a daily sacrificing in a myriad of ways, of putting someone else first. A husband or wife should do this for their spouse. Parents willingly sacrifice for their children. And there is no more painful death to a parent than the loss of a child.
But what kind of a love willing sacrifices a communion that existed before time?
Tears must have rolled down Abba's cheeks as He heard His son's lament. This heart cry as those around him mocked and gloated at his suffering. The Father who runs to embrace His prodigal son cannot even embrace His only Son in this moment. He can offer no comfort, no gentle words, nothing. His love is so great that He can only listen because He so loved the world . . .
And in that pain, the veil was torn. I can't help but think of this as the sorrow of a parent. Certainly in biblical times they mourned by tearing their garments and throwing ashes on themselves. Was this God mourning His son? And in that mourning, the veil was torn so that no barrier stood between us and our Father.
What must the grief of God be like?
It is powerful enough to let His son die on a cross that we might be reconciled to Him.
You love as I cannot love nor will ever be able to love. Your love is so much greater and, for that, I am eternally grateful but cannot adequately express my gratitude for no words can reach the depth of the Truth that came at the cost of the cross. Neither height nor depth can keep us from that ever reaching love that was willing to give all that we might be called Your sons and daughters. Yet we could not live unless he died. Such love could never be understood but can only transform those who accept it daily knowing only that all is Grace and can only be Grace.
As a Papa to two sons, I embrace them more tightly knowing how openly You gave Yours.
My love can never be enough but may my feeble imitation of love point them to Yours.
Thank you, Abba.