Joan Clayton: Religion Columnist
Remember the day you enclosed your tiny baby’s hand into yours?
Remember holding that toddler’s hand when he or she took their first steps? Remember the first day of school when you had to let go? Remember that teenager driving for the first time? I well remember that. Remember the day they left home?
My tears fell on Lance’s feet as he held me in his arms and whispered, “Mom, a Christian never says goodbye for the last time.”
Memories flashed as my husband and I boarded the plane back home. We don’t get to visit Lance and his family often and a one-hour flight is better than a seven-hour drive.
The 30-minute drive to the airport from Lance’s house is always a 30-minute goodbye for me and by the time we reach the airport I am emotionally drained. When will I quit crying saying goodbye to those I love?
Those tiny baby’s hands I used to hold are now Lance’s big strong hands. His hands carried our luggage and his hands led us to the security line where we hugged one more time. I couldn’t cry then because the line moved too fast…taking off boots…trays full of belts and purses. We finally passed through security after a long line. I turned and looked back. A way past the security line I saw Lance behind the chain, looking and watching to see that we safely headed toward the right way. He waved a long goodbye and I waved a teary kiss.
The experience settled in on me. God loves us even more than we love our children! I began to realize the impact of it all. You can love so much it hurts! And that is what Jesus did. His love is stronger than anything. His love knows no end and he had you and me in mind when he endured the cross. Think of the anguish, the pain, shame and degradation he felt. He looked down the stream of time and knew his sacrifice had to be to save mankind from eternal destruction. Who can fathom this kind of love?
The love of God surpasses all understanding. It reaches to the highest high and the deepest low. What would this world be like without love in it?
“The mountains may disappear, and the hills may come to an end, but my love will never disappear; my promise of peace will not come to an end”…(Isaiah 54:10 NCV).
So I remind myself that a man came from Galilee to set me free. He suffered pain, he took my shame, paying a price … his sacrifice … securing agony for my destiny.
God’s love gives hope and a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to go on even in the midst of trials. As long as there are people, there is a reason to live and to love. Love can heal the deepest hurts. Love brings peace in a sea of unrest. Love is the bridge over troubled waters. Love makes life precious. Take away love and you have taken away life.
I would rather have loved and been hurt than never to have known the ecstasy of love and the heartache of pain … because in that process I’ve learned the secret of life, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). I believe God sends roses with thorns to remind me lest I forget the pain and beauty of his sacrifice.
Lance lovingly watched over us. Jesus does that too, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward them” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
I think Jesus watches over those he loves.
Let him watch over you today.