November 21, 2023
October 24, 2023 | Jaci Miller
I sat shivering in the 39-degree weather, jacket wrapped around me, fingers tucked into my sleeves. The aluminum bench chilled me from below. The wind whipped me from above. My stomach growled (no breakfast that morning). And eight- and nine-year old boys raced back and forth in front me, laser-focused on — not the cold, on football. None of them huddled together in a little-guy iceberg. No, their huddles remained strategy-based. Activity, adrenaline, and enthusiasm kept them toasty.
I, however, dreamed of a space heater and Taco Bell.
So, what held me on that bench? Love. One specific player, my nephew, held my heart.
I willingly froze my toes to express that love to him. Even though he probably took that love for granted. Even though my discomfort never crossed his mind.
Love makes us do crazy things. Things we didn’t know we could do. Maybe, things we never thought we would do. Like carrying a 70-pound kid on a piggyback ride. (Yep, guilty!)
Love made God do a crazy thing too. The most quoted Scripture in the world, John 3:16, stands as a testament to this crazy thing. God sent His only son, the physical embodiment of Himself, to the Earth as both a sacrifice and a sign of His love. That anyone, who would believe in what Jesus did, would live forever.
Where my football illustration falls short is the degree of sacrifice I made. I sacrificed a couple of hours of comfort. Jesus gave everything possible to pay a debt insurmountable, at least for anyone else.
So, what held Him on that cross?
Jesus suffered for hours on the cross … because we hold His heart. He stayed in that place of agony because He wanted us to be saved. And why did He care so much, when the people for whom he was dying so often take that love for granted? Or when we forget to remember his pain?
What’s even crazier? God didn’t have to do this. He could have gone on his merry way and not taken any responsibility for us. Guiltless in the whole scenario, He still elected to take on the greatest suffering the world had ever seen because He wanted to. He hated being apart from us. Love caused Him to act.
1 John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”
His love was so great, that God didn’t only save us, He called us into a family relationship. He didn’t save us just to abandon us. He calls us His beloved children. The beat of His own heart.
People do crazy things because of love. We sacrifice our comfort (by watching little NFL wannabes strutting in the snow). Or give up our dignity (by piggybacking with a 70-pounder.)
Jesus sacrificed both. By hanging from a cross. Because of love.