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No Matter What

I think this may be the first Good Friday in my life that I’ve ever been in the right frame of mind concerning the cross, and I think it may have something to do with the 143 Christians that were killed in Kenya today.

See, when you grow up hearing about Jesus’ dying on the cross and are too young for abstract thought the first time you hear it, you tend to identify with the physical aspect of His death more than anything else.  You cringe at the “ouch” of the cross, but don’t empathize with the agony.

As you grow up and begin to experience pain of your own, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual, the “ouch” effect of the cross is diminished a bit.  Subconsciously, you adopt an “oh yeah?” attitude.  Yes, you understand that Jesus’ death was excruciatingly painful, cruel, and gory—you are reminded every year by your pastor and graphic images in the media—but you have felt real pain, too, pain more intense, personal, dark, and deep than you could ever have imagined the first time you cringed at the cross, and the story loses something.  Although you believe and trust in the truth of it and know it must have been a horrifying thing, it FEELS a little less relevant and effective in your not-as-pain-free-as-it-ought-to-be-if-Jesus-conquered-death life.

Consider this. The real agony of the cross was not physical, the result of piercing and tearing of flesh, but spiritual and emotional, the result of being separated from the Father.  Buried under the weight of sin, something our perfect Savior had never experienced before, He was completely and utterly alone for the first time in His life, bereft of comfort, peace, joy, strength, fellowship, security, everything we long for…bereft of love.

I’ve been a Christian since I was six years old.  I’ve known nothing but the peace and joy of intimacy with the Father for my entire life.  Even in the darkest times, when I chose my own way over His, I felt His presence, His protective hand of discipline, His wooing whisper, and was comforted.  When others have hurt me deeply with words or actions, I have felt secure in His love.

And what if that were taken away?  Honestly, the very thought suffocates me and is far more terrifying to me than the thought of a terrorist group doing me or my family harm, something that stays in the back of my mind these days.  The prospect of being separated from the very source of my hope and strength, frankly, nauseates me and makes me feel feverish in the depths of my soul.

It’s unthinkable!  Yet that is what Jesus did for you and for me, not enthusiastically, but willingly, out of pure love for the Father, so that we would never have to experience the same separation in life or in death.

THAT was the pain of the cross.  THAT is why we remember.  THAT is why we worship Jesus Christ in a special way on Good Friday and give Him thanks.

He endured the unthinkable so that we don’t have to.  Not EVER!  No matter WHAT the Enemy does to us here on earth.

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