One night about a year ago when I was having a particularly difficult time I cried out to God “How long do I have to endure this struggle; how long do I have to endure being rejected; feeling unloved; abandoned; thrown away? You’ve asked me to love unconditionally, but my love isn’t acknowledged, in fact most of the time my motives are questioned if not perceived as plain evil! How long before certain individuals recognize and acknowledge how they’ve hurt me? Just what are you doing to fight this battle for me, Lord!?” It was within an hour that God addressed my cries. No, He didn’t give me answers to my whiny questions (in fact, His perfect timing has not yet resolved most of what I was crying about a year ago) What He did do, like I’ve done to my own children when they are in a frenzy about something, was take my cheeks in His hands and divert my attention elsewhere and revealed to me something that has eluded me my entire spiritual life! He whispered between the lines on a page of a little book I had been gnawing on for a while, that just possibly what I was suffering could be likened, in a very small way, to what He suffered for me. That was a revelation for me because the only type of sacrifice that I really understood Him to have made for me was the physical. Not that that wasn’t horrible, because if you read my account of cutting my finger, hanging on a cross isn’t something I would line up to do! But even with the knowledge that Christ died in a very painful manner, my ‘matter of fact’ brain would say “yeah, but He’s God… He can endure anything.” To think that just maybe His sufferings had more to do with the spiritual and emotional than the physical was very profound. So my very next thought was “I would not have understood about what His sufferings entailed, to any degree, had I not experienced heart-ripping struggles myself.”
Did Jesus even once think or say to the Father “But that is just not fair, many don’t even KNOW they are sinning! And you want me to forgive them-you want me to die for them? I am perfect, without flaw. I am the King of Kings. I have never sinned, yet I am to give My life for them? They ignore me, disrespect me, violate my commands; they hate Me, yet I am to love them, forgive them, save them? They have conspired against me, drove me out of towns, mocked me; spread lies about me; spat at me; those that were close to me betrayed me and for money no less! Father, You are asking me to see beyond all of that? I am God! I am Almighty! They are sinners! Despicable, filthy, unclean, vial, wretched sinners! You want me to stoop to their level, become like a dumb lamb before the shearers for them so that they can spend eternity with us? Do we even want to spend an eternity with them?”
Thankfully Jesus did not say those things; not in the slightest or quickest of thoughts. He said, “yes Father I will go; I will do it”. He LOVED me yet I hated Him. I rejected Him, yet He lowered Himself for me. I dragged His name in some very disgusting mud, all the while forgiving me. I worshiped many other gods yet He died for me. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Oh, how this must have hurt Him; how my horrible sins must have made His heart ache. I did not love Him and yet He loved me and was willing to become nothing for my sake.
I realize the vast chasm between my sufferings and His sufferings; there is little comparison. But that night my struggles were intense enough to shed a sliver of light on a very important aspect of just how much Christ does love me and the suffering He endured because He didn’t want me to be separated from Him. Thank you God for not leaving me, for not giving up on me, for loving me without condition! You are forever to be praised!! Amen.