John 3:16-21 God So Loved Us
God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
I believe our Christian ancestors had a better understanding of love than we do today, for most of them felt perfectly comfortable accepting and expressing love by means of suffering. Hence, I find it understandable how the modern man, growing up in a narcissistic and materialistic society, would view “love through suffering” as alien and would run away from it as quickly as possible. Let’s face it: the modern man is weak, and is continuously striving to eliminate all forms of suffering if only to achieve the elimination of all true love.
For so many of us today, love and suffering are like water and oil. They simply do not mix!
Yesterday, I went to visit a woman in the hospital who has suffered a lot throughout her life. Just recently she began to feel much better about herself, her finances and even her health. And then it happened. Tragedy struck. While she was waiting at a stop light, a man in a truck, obviously distracted, rammed her from behind. He was going nearly 50 mph. To make matters worse, the man who struck her was struck also from behind and from a young girl who also was obviously distracted. It turns out that this man had the minimum amount of insurance and the young lady had no insurance at all. When all is said and done, this poor woman in the hospital was the only one not at fault but was the only who was seriously injured and has taken the full economic impact of it all!
She is scared, lonely and angry, and doesn’t know what to believe or think anymore.
In many ways she is like the Apostles, who, after Christ’s crucifixion, were scared, lonely and angry.
When I went to visit her, I could only tell her what I knew was absolutely true. I told her, “God loves you.” As you can imagine, she had a hard time comprehending this kind of love.
I then reminded her of what we know from scripture: “God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten son.” Love and sacrifice (suffering) go hand-in-hand like Christ and His Cross. The two are meant to be one, even if nailed together.
This is not music to our ears. It is a hideous sound to our ears! We do not naturally embrace such a theory; instead, we repel at the very thought of it. We rebel upon at hearing! But let us never forget that we were not the first to think so, for even the Apostles rebelled at it when they first heard it themselves; that is, when they heard the first rumors that Christ had risen from the dead.
Let’s never forget that the Apostles, upon hearing the news of Christ’s resurrection, could not believe what they were hearing because they could not imagine it. Not so much that He had risen, but that He, who had suffered so much, could have been loved so much. How could God, who we are told is so loving and so good, allow something so bad to happen?
The Apostles were not shocked that someone had risen from the dead. They were shocked that someone who had suffered so much could have been loved so much!
I know that happiness means to accept true love. I also know it means to carry my Cross. Everything I wrote is absolutely true, but I know it doesn't make it any easier.
Lord Jesus, I believe in you! Lord Jesus, help me!
Resolution: Heavenly Father, we know that you love the world and all who inhabit it. As you sent your Son, so also send me. I ask this through Christ my Lord. Amen.