For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him
should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 ESV
There is a situation in life that is probably one of the most difficult to comprehend and handle when you, or a loved one, is face to face with it. What is the first thing you thought of? The one that always stands out to me is when the relationship between parent and child is interrupted by illness, disease, tragedy, or death.
I remember the words spoken by my Grandmother after my Uncle Tom passed away, "There is no greater pain then to watch your child die, then to lose him." My heart broke for my Gram and then I thought of my parents, she physically buried her son. While my parents "lost" their daughter, and nineteen years later, still live daily without knowledge of her whereabouts. The commonality, my Gram, and my parents were both separated from their child. Each living with a void only understood when you've experienced this pain firsthand.
"God totally understands how the parents of a missing child, or the parents of dying child feel." Okay, before you click the white "x" in the red box in the top right hand corner, please hear me out.
Of course there are more differences than similarities yet when you stop and really think about it, the separation experienced is profound. You know why? God send His Only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us - for you - for me.
Unlike the parents of the ill, dying, or missing child though - God had a choice. He could have taken Jesus from the cross and saved Him from the pain and horrific crucifiction, but He didn't. God could of avoided the entire scene so Jesus wasn't even put in the predicament to call out to him, "“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” So why? I don't have Biblical proof of this theory I have yet after weeks of thought and prayer on this, I'm going to put it out there. Some may disagree with me, others might be speechless, and if you are the parent still in the anger stage -- you may exit my blog right now because "I don't get it." But I hope you'll hear me out a little bit longer.
“Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one whose
sin the Lord will never count against them.”
If you are this parent, please know you are in my prayers often. I pray for my parents daily and their strength continues to amaze me. I hope you know your strength amazes me too -- the ability to get out of bed each morning, to make coffee, or maybe its the simple task of lifting your head of the pillow at the start of each day. When your child is sick, missing, dying, or sadly passed away -- you must celebrate the little things throughout your day.
So what does this have to do with my theory that God understands where you've been? Let me try to connect some of these dots for you. We, on earth, do not have a choice when faced with the unthinkable.
We can't take away our child's pain, their sickness, or save them from death. Our children can call out to us and ask, "Mommy, Daddy, make me feel better?" or "Make the hurt go away." But no matter how much we would want to say, "Of course, you'll feel better when you wake up.", we can't make this promise. BUT Jesus, the Son of God, did call to his Daddy.
Do you remember how God responded? Check this out...
The Death of Jesus
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.
And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”
(which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing near heard this, they said,
“Listen, he’s calling Elijah. Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar,
put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone.
Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
And when the centurion,
who stood there in front of Jesus,
saw how he died, he said,
“Surely this man was the Son of God!”
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:19
There was only one way for God to bridge the distance between earth and heaven (eternity) ~ He watched His Only Son suffer crucifixion - a horrendous death. He heard His Son call out to Him and chose not to respond because God knew this was the only way you and I could have an open relationship with Him.
Prior to Jesus' death, your typical person couldn't communicate (pray) with God - only the elders or priests could - Jesus' death and resurrection released the Holy Spirit here on earth to intervene on our behalf and established a forever bond with God. One we don't have to wait to experience, one that is readily available when we call out to Him.
God had the power to do what every grieving or helpless parent wishes and prays he or she could do - end their child's pain, suffering, or in the case of the missing - bring their child home.
And this is the testimony:
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
Whoever has the Son has life;
whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God
so that you may know that you have eternal life.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God:
that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we
know that we have what we asked of him.
1 John 5:11-15
If you are grieving the loss of a child or a parent watching your child suffer with cancer, diabetes, an undiagnosed illness, or worse yet - helplessly witnessing him or her take their last breath...know God understands the pain of separation and watching your son or daughter suffer.
The greatest difference is this: God didn't answer Jesus so that you can call out to Him when you felt the similar pain, ever so briefly. I like to think of it this way - God only experienced this loss and distance briefly yet He had one thing we don't - choice.
He chose you and me. Will you choose Him?
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit
himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.