Saturday, February 19, 2011

Love, in suffering

Jesus was spat upon, scourged, abandoned by His closest friends, thought of as crazy by His immediate family members, laughed at by the authority figures of His day, disbelieved in His own hometown. He watched every day sins being committed that in His pure holiness must have been more acute a pain than to the most righteous man that ever lived. He lived with knowing that He was doubted when He knew that He carried in His person the very Truth of Life. He lived with knowing that even His followers who believed in Him misunderstood His plan for their redemption. He ate with sinners, wept at His friend's tomb even knowing that momentarily that friend was going to be resurrected, and accepted gratefully the repentant tears of an immoral woman as they fell upon His feet. He washed His disciples' feet. He sat at a preposterous excuse for a court trial to frame Him for some crime, any crime, and He did not say a word in His own defense, even though He knew that at that assembly, He and only He had never sinned. Even though He had the power to call down a legion of angels to take His place, He allowed Himself to be nailed to a cross, and stayed there of His own volition while His blood dripped down and His body gave out.

Even knowing all this, having known it all my life, and loving Him for it, I fail at being half as grateful as He deserves. Naturally, infinite goodness demands infinite gratitude, and infinite gratitude is more than a finite being can give, but I even fail at giving Him all of my gratitude that I could give. I say that because, even knowing all this, knowing how much He suffered for me on the cross and in His life, I sometimes have the gall to come to Him with some specific hurt or incompleteness in my life and say, "But Jesus, You've never known what it was to feel *this*." When I say it, what I mean is not that it is *more* than anything He has felt, but that that certain specific type of thing is something that He has not experienced and could not understand.

When I do that, He looks at me. He doesn't have to say anything, because I know what His answer is. I know that there is not an inch, not an ounce, not a prick of pain that I will ever feel that He has not felt, because He has already carried mine, because He is walking through it with me even at that moment when in childish ingratitude I complain to Him that He does not know how it feels. He already bore all those things, every single one of them, for every soul that ever was.

It is when I look into His eyes that I realize that truth, and it is when I realize that truth that I can fall at His feet and cry out to Him with all my soul.

He will always understand. He lives in me.

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