Friday, March 9, 2012

March 10, 2012

"He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”  When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing."  Matthew 26:42-44

A father's love has a tender side and it also has a tough side. I believe that is one of the tests of truly healthy love.

If you agree with that you would expect that the love of the Heavenly Father also has the tough and tender components. It does and I want to share some thoughts on that.

My previous post centered on the Father's love as illustrated by the parable of the Prodigal Son. You could see from that story God's love is giving and it is gracious and it is generous and it is gentle. He showed a tender love for both of his son's despite their obvious shortcomings.

There can be no doubt that the father in this parable is God. So, God has a tender love for His children.

But, God also has a very tough and committed love. His love is committed to what is best for you and me according to His will. That is dramatically proven by the encounter between Jesus and His Father in Gethsemane. Here in these intense and agonizing hours, Jesus cries out to His Father to be spared from the humiliation and suffering of the cross. Three separate times He asks if there might be another way to atone for the sins of mankind. So, arduous were Jesus' pleas that He actually sweat drops of blood according to the Gospel of Luke, the physician.

I have never been so emotionally wrought as to sweat drops of blood, have you? Jesus did!

But despite these three earnest pleas for the Father to spare His Son, each request was answered by a stern and resolute, "NO!"

Where was that tender God Who was so good and gracious and generous to the wayward son and so patient with the whining son? How could He say "no" to a Perfect Son when He had said "yes" to those troubled young men?

The answer is found in two words, "CRAZY LOVE"!

In each situation God's purpose was to provide the best for those involved and the best is HIM! God understands that knowing Him and loving Him and living in Him IS the best thing that can happen to anyone. So if it takes a "yes" to make that happen or if it requires a "no", that is what God is committed to do!

I could even make a case that by this standard, God's "no" to Jesus was more loving than the "yes" to the other two because the "yes" saved a couple but the "no" made salvation possible for everyone!

God is love whether in the "yes' or in the "no". When He says "no" it is only so He can say "yes" to something better!

Can you love God in the "no's" of life? Can you still believe in His "crazy love" even when He says "no" and His "no" causes you to suffer? Can you keep on loving Him until His "no" leads you to a greater "yes"?