Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
A gift to me. I’m not a very sentimental guy, but the Lord is; and may we never forget that sentiments are a part - a big part - of who we are. Sentiments sell in the form of poetry, music and art. Mathematical formulas sell as well, in the form of gadgets. They are useful, but music is a must!
The Father has given us over to His Son. We belong to Him. He is not our slave master. We are His friends: “You are my friends.” He calls us by name.
I wish that where I am they also may be with me. What any favored Son wishes for, He usually gets. But it’s different this time. The Son must earn our trust, and so He goes after it. He keeps His word, even if it kills Him. He keeps His promises, even while others break their own. The Son must earn our love, and so He loves first. He forgives us, even while we were not in the mood to be forgiven. He loves us, even while we were not accustomed to being loved, and loved for no reason!
Jesus wants us to be with Him. He wants us to experience what He experiences. Not too long ago I mentioned a flight I took from Chicago to Dallas, and all the pain and difficulties I experienced along the way. I always knew my plane would land in Dallas. But with my Christian faith, I never quite know where I’m going to land! And so, when I fought against my natural instincts to throw a fit and to complain loudly (and obnoxiously), and forced myself to place myself in God’s hands; that is, in His Commandments, in His rules, in His Way of doing things - to be tied down, to have my hands bound, and my lips shut - I ended up utterly surprised. I ended up being loved.
“Surprised” is where the Lord wishes us to be. Heaven is a surprise. It is where the Lord is, and wherever the Lord is, it is a surprise to find Him there; at least it is for me.
I’m surprised to find Him in Golgotha and nailed to a Cross. I’m surprised to find Him in Bethlehem and in a stable. I’m surprised to find Him among the sick, the lepers, the crippled and the losers. I’m surprised to find Him in the company of Romans and assisting them. I’m surprised to find Him forgiving His enemies and persecutors. God’s don’t do that. They strike them dead!
And last but not least, as John Newton put it “I hope to find three types of people in Heaven: those who I expect to see, those who I never expected to see and myself.”
Because you loved me. Love is honest. People who love do not go around telling people what they want to hear; rather, they tell them what they need to hear. St. Augustine, in his “Confessions”, wrote: “I was preparing to make an address for praise of the Emperor. In it I would tell many lies and for my lies men who knew that I was lying would applaud me.” This is our world, the world of the “public face”; the world of the “public lies”. We are experiencing this today with a new emperor and those around him.
Why do I believe in Jesus Christ? Because He knows how to love and to love me. He captured me. He rescued me. I would not be where I am today if it were not for His persistent love. I would not have left my high paying job, my engineering career, my easy life if it were not for Him.
The Lord knows how to love us better than we know how to love ourselves. He does a better job of it than we do, and better than anyone else we know. He loves others better than we do. He sheds His skin to prove it.It’s obvious: those who love “the best” simply imitate Him “the most.”