Easter always gets me thinking. It should, right?
I have come across a lot of people who are offended by the notion that there would be only one way to God when there is such a beautiful variety of people who have so many sincere ways of seeking him. Or her...or...
They are offended by the idea that anyone would be excluded from "all God's children". (With the possible exception of Hitler. Or people like that. You know, bad people.) I get that. My theme song is, "Can't We All Just Get Along?"
Honestly, sometimes Christians don't help that much. Think about it this way: If you want to see me come unglued, just watch me when I see my kids run across the street without looking when I can hear a car engine headed our way. It will sound like I am angry, when in reality, I am just scared to death for their safety. Christians can come across sort of panicked and overly urgent when we are concerned for the well-being of people we care about. Sometimes it's not all that pretty.
All of that aside, let me ask you this:
Have you ever had one of those moments? The kind where you say, "THIS is what I was made for!" Maybe a creative moment or an athletic moment or a parenting moment. Maybe a discovery or an adventure or an accomplishment. Maybe a moment of love or friendship. Maybe even a moment of worship. That sense of awe and speechlessness. The smile. The laughter. The tears. The sigh.
"This is what I was made for."
It's a declaration that we have a maker. A glorious declaration. The discovery of God's fingerprints on the clay of our existence. Indeed, we WERE made for moments like this. All of them. By a purposeful and loving creator who enjoys them right along with us, every bit as much as we do. But to God-sized proportions.
Have you ever had one of those moments? The kind where you think, "Whoa, I was made for so much more than that!" The kind that was not one of your finer parenting moments. The kind where you spoke words that you wished you could pull right back into your mouth, because they reveal more about you than you cared to have anyone know. Where you made a risky or rebellious choice, and are left to deal with the consequences. Where you began to discover a prejudice within that you would have flatly denied because you LOVE people who are different from you. Most of them.
A broken promise, broken trust, broken body, broken rule, broken relationship. Any brokenness you helped to cause will do.
Indeed, we were made for so much more than this. We all fall short of the glory of our creator, the glory of his purposes for us. And we know it.
We know John 3:16, right? Here are the next two verses (quoting Jesus here):
"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."
There is so much theology tied up in Easter. Jesus' death for us, and his resurrection victory over death. And good heavens, I am no theologian.
But here is what I know. Jesus did not come to condemn ANYONE! We are already condemned by that which causes our regret. We are condemned because our heads are bent down in shame and we fail to hear him speak our name. We fail to recognize his loving hand reaching down to gently lift our chin that we might dare to look up and meet the gaze in his eyes that brings us overwhelming peace. Because ultimately HE is what we were made for.
God gives us the option of keeping our head down and living under condemnation of our own making. The option of rejecting him and living separated from him, so that he can't reject us. After all, if we don't look up into his eyes, we don't have to face the possibility of his look of disapproval. But it's eyes of forgiveness we are missing. We were never born to live condemned lives!
Could God have provided the way back into relationship with him through any other means than sending his one and only Son for Good Friday and Easter? I suppose he could have made another plan, back then before the dawn of time when he was figuring it all out. But he chose to send Jesus. What kind of God would he be if he offered Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice of his Son, as one option--leaving the option open for all of his creatures to come back to him with counter offers if Jesus isn't their preference? God didn't just put Jesus out there on the table for us to consider as though we were his equals. He put Jesus on the wooden altar of the cross, once and for all, regardless of what we thought. Now it is up to us to decide what we will do with him.
"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Luke 19:10
I'm so thankful that I looked up when I sensed him seeking me. I can't imagine life without Jesus.