God could have shown us how great He is. He could have displayed how powerful and above us He is. Instead, He became as small as we are. What did Jesus know that enabled Him to do what He did? Here's part of the answer. He knew the value of people (His sheeple). He knew that each human being is a treasure. And because He did, people were not a source of stress, but a source of joy. Jesus knows how you feel. You are precious to Him. So precious that He became like you, so that you would come to Him. It is outrageous for the Christ whose rightful place is at the right hand of His Father to step out of timelessness into our world to live as one of us. For people with bodies, important things like love have to be embodied, or else people with bodies would never in a trillion years understand about love. It was not necessary to nail Him to His cross. His unfailing love, arms opened wide for us, would have held Him there. That I should such a life destroy yet live by Him I killed! He lived for us, then He died for us, and then He rose for us. His death atoned for our sins, and His resurrection opens the door to everlasting life. How much easier it would have been for Him to not give us a choice. But to remove the choice would be to remove the love. The one who chose to love created one who could love in return… Now …. it's our choice. Jesus is fishing for us, not to kill us but to give us life. God woos us with kindness. He changes our character with the passion of His love.
God is looking down on this earth, half angry because His beloved mankind has cheated on Him, has committed adultery, and yet He is hopelessly in love with her. God's goodness is spurred by His nature, not by our worthiness. We are wanted by God, pursued by God. He is wanting to preserve us, to guide us through the darkness of the shadow of death up into eternal life in His presence. We are temporarily in these shells on this earth. Paul had no questions. That is how he could be beaten one day, imprisoned the next, and released only to be beaten again and never ask God why. He understood the earth is fallen. He understood the rules of Rome could not save mankind, that mankind could not save itself; rather it must be rescued. He knew he was not in the promised land, but still in the desert. We seem to forget - perhaps more truthfully, we refuse to remember - that we are the ones who betrayed Him, not vice versa. We are the ones who listened to the lies of the evil one in the Garden; we chose to mistrust the heart of God. Why, oh why do we have difficulty believing in the God who created the entire universe? Why do we have trouble believing in the One who sent His only Son to save us from ourselves? In the same way God delivered the Israelites from Egypt, so he has delivered us from eternal death to eternal life through His beloved son. He's delivered us from bondage to sin, bondage to narcissism, into fullness of life lived with and for Him.
True, God is in control of the universe. True, He can prevent suffering whenever He sees fit. However, that doesn't mean that everything that happens is His doing. Wherever free will exists, by the very nature of things, consequences of choice must exist. These consequences will be either good or bad, depending on the decisions that are made. We are all being tempted by satan. Pain, suffering and death are the result of man's abuse of free will. God does not prevent man's disobedience, even though He knows the consequences will be devastating. He allows a man to reap what he sows. Selfishness grows from the anarchy seed, the seed of the evil one. satan lashes out on the earth like a madman, setting tribes against each other in Rwanda. satan devastates many lives through starvation, alcoholism, substance abuse and pornography. satan is at work in economic chaos around the world, and the corporate-driven greed of American executives. satan is at work in the holocaust of violent, non-loving, disrespecting aborting of babies in the U.S. of A., the narcissism, materialism and intellectualism in America, social class snobbery, and the self-absorption we wallow in when we do not ensure our next generation is brought up in a culture with enriching, wholesome values. What a great responsibility it is to be human. We are human because God made us. If you are not living in touch with God, it is easy to blame Him or pass judgment on Him. We experience suffering and temptation because mankind chose to follow satan. God is reaching out to rescue us … God made nature to sing His praises, to declare His glory and to love Him. He made humans with the ability to choose. He could have ordered our obedience; instead He calls for our heart.
I surrendered my allegiance to Jesus in a stone Catholic chapel while a college student. My four children are my magnum opus: twin sons Joseph Linden and Adam Edward, Hannah Rose and Laurel Emmaline.
My dear dad, eldest of ten, strove for and achieved excellence at whatever he did: surrendering his allegiance to Jesus and serving Him his entire life, most proficient sharpshooter during his stint in the Marines; scouted not once, but twice, to pitch for the Brooklyn Dodgers; struck Willie Mays out; valedictorian at Crozet High, Belmont Abbey and at UVA. While a Marine, he appointed himself as THE man to ensure his mates came safely back to the ship after carousing on land. His exemplary mother, Katherine Kirk Bain, was Mother-of-the-Year for VA in 1966. She was my best friend until her death at age 99 in 2000. I miss her always!