Year 4-Day 81: Today, I am grateful for the cross.
As a child, I remember the dread of Easter. It was nearly unbearable to think of Christ's suffering and know that it partly my fault he was beaten and crucified. I understood guilt and shame, but I missed something really important. Choice.
The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one big love story about a God who exemplified courage when he created life in his own image and then let that creation choose or reject him. We are not puppets that are nature driven. We think. We choose.
Only we can unlock our hearts and welcome Him in and invite him to stay. Not as a visitor, but as Lord of our lives.
It became so clear when we read "The Story" with our Jr. High Students a few years ago. Genesis to Revelation in chronological order shed new light on the depth of God's love, sorrow, holiness, anger, joy, compassion and relentless pursuit of the being he created and then gave free will and choice.
Then...he chose to take on human form to be with us, to understand us, to know our emotions, to teach us and then to take our place. Max Lucado's book "He Chose the Nails" changed Easter for me. Somehow, he shed new light on the story I have known all of my life. Nails did not hold him on that cross. Not for a minute. Love did.
Who would you die for? If you watch nature...animals will die protecting their young...their children. God loves us with a father's tender heart. It is why he teaches, corrects, allows challenges for growth and celebrates our smallest victories. He did not design to be motivated by guilt. He created us to think...to be choice makers who embrace their choice.
In the end...we choose or reject him. There is no half way or "sort of" about it. Wise men (and women) still seek him. We can look to the children if we need a model for faith and belief.
Yes...the cross that was designed to be an instrument of torture has become the symbol of love, sacrifice, forgiveness...and when the cross is empty...it represents power. Three men died that day. Two men were given the choice of life through Christ. Only one believed and accepted.
The man in the middle...the God-man....changed everything when he chose to stay on that cross, submitted his body to death...and then conquered death! Take that Satan! His choice...made out of love...it made a new way. Debt paid.
Our choice changes everything, too.
I think you will love this video. "It's About the Cross".
Today, I am grateful for the cross...the empty cross.