November 9, 2011

Understanding the Majesty of a Miracle

I once was lost - a hopeless sinner.

My sin was a stench, an offense to GodWholly and completely unacceptable.

I was doomed to die.  Separated from God, miserable and in agony, for eternity.

And there was nothing - absolutely nothing - that I could do about it.

And that grieved God deeply. 

It broke his heart because that was not what he created me for.  I was created for fellowship with him.  First here on earth; and then for an eternity.  Loving, joyful, deep fellowship.

So what's a God to do?  Just lay down his head in defeat? Throw up his hands in surrender and say, "Oh, well, it was good while it lasted."

Maybe that's what you do when you're one of the lesser 'gods' - the ones who don't deserve to have their names capitalized.  The ones who are made out of brick or stone or mortar.  The ones who are dead because they were never really God in the first place.

But that's not what you do when you're a living, breathing, creating, powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, ever loving God. That's not what you do when your heart aches for your child who is, at the moment, so far away from you that she is just a speck on the horizon.  That is not what you do when you are a God who is the very definition of love, compassion and mercy. No, when you are all that, and more, you get up off of your holy throne and you do something.

No matter what it takes.

And in this case, it took a lot. It took his reputation.  It took being beaten, ridiculed, humiliated. It took his skin - his very flesh - stripped from his bones, exposing his muscles and tendons and nerves.  It took his blood; drained from his brow, his back, his side; poured out onto the ground until he was empty.

He didn't just give a lot.

He gave it all.

And that is what I am struggling to comprehend.  How can I even begin to grasp the enormity of what was done for me? How can my human brain fully understand the majesty of such an exceptional miracle? Because that's exactly what it was - a miracle.  I was dead to rights - but now I live!  I was covered in a muck and mire that could not be washed off, no matter how many good-deed baths I took - yet, here I am smelling fresher than a mountain stream in springtime! I was doomed to an eternity of hellish agony - yet, now I have a eternal future so bright that, you're right, I gotta wear shades...

But here's the kicker: what did he ask of me? Not much.  In fact, hardly anything at all.

He asks me to be honest; to recognize and admit that, yes, I am sinful; I have lied, cheated, gossiped, hated, and the list goes on... And there is nothing I can do to rid myself of that sin - it is stuck to me like gorilla glue. so he asks me to confess that sin to him and ask for his forgiveness.

He asks me to believe: to know in my heart of hearts that what he did was not only real but that it was enough.  In his own words, "It is finished." Done. He died on that cross and when he did he took my sins with him. He did it - he didn't need my help then and he doesn't need it now.

And he asks me to walk in faith - and fellowship: to know that I can now approach his holy throne, in confidence, knowing that I am now clean and acceptable to him - and that there is nothing that can change that.  We can sit down together and have tea (or coffee, or a Coke) and fellowship.

In other words, he did not give everything so that we could have a one time encounter with him and then go our separate ways.  No, he gave it all so that we could have a relationship; so we could hang out and talk - every day.

That 's it.  Honesty. Trust. And fellowship.  That's all God asks of me in exchange for a miracle.

Go figure...

I once was lost.  A hopeless sinner.  My stench so bad that the God who created me could not even stand to have me near him. I was gross...nasty.

But I am now forgiven.  And full of hope.  And fragrance brings pleasure and joy to my Father and he can't wait for me to come and visit.

No, I don't understand it.  But I accept it.

Because it'd be crazy to turn down a miracle.

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  
                   While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." 
                ~ Romans 5:8

I realize that there is no way, this side of heaven, to ever comprehend the vast miracle of what God has done for us.  But I want to at least try.  I never want to take the miracle of salvation for granted - or treat it lightly.  It is a gift - a priceless gift of infinite treasure and I want to handle it with the respect, honor and gratitude it deserves.

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