The Cost of the Cross…
You know that feeling that you get when your throat seems to close up and you feel yourself choking on the tears that are about to spill down your cheeks? That is what the last 3 days of reading has done. I re-read day 84 together with 85. The Truth and conviction is joined hand-in-hand. The Truth of what He willingly gave, and the conviction for the wasted years of my life seemed to haunt my mind as I read. And then other things came back to me. Aimee will remember. But since you don’t know, I will share at some point in today’s study.
I have a vivid imagination and reading for me paints a picture in my mind. Reading takes me to the scene. But this scene today was filled with stomach churning anguish. I feel unworthy to even share this study today, however, I will share what I have felt as I read this study.
As a sinner, saved by Grace—I can relate to the darkness. For in that darkness of my life, I purposefully kept the curtains drawn on my soul to keep the Light out. Thankfully, I had precious loved ones praying the prayer that got through—and as the Light persisted— I repented and gave my heart to the Lord I have served for many years now.
Hard as I tried, I have not been able to imagine what it must have felt like to be surrounded by darkness and not feel the Presence that had kept Him going since the day He left His throne to embark on the earthly journey for us.
In verse 46 of Matthew, we hear Him plead with His Father for an answer…”My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” He heard no answer. There was only darkness screaming back. The pain it must have been for Him to even speak those words, had to be excruciating! I heard a minister preach once about the Crucifixion and he made the statement, “in order for Jesus to be able to get enough air in His lungs to speak, He must have pressed His feet into the block upon which they were nailed (according to history he had read), and push Himself up long enough to breathe in and speak.” I don’t know, but I do believe that the words He spoke were words that He needed to say, not only for Himself, but for us today.
We experience dark days. Granted our days will never compare to Jesus Christ, bearing the sins of all the world. From every liar, rapist, murderer, abuser, addict, adulterer, stiff necked, hard hearted, slanderous, prideful and every perverse individual that would ever take a breath. He bore them all. The problems we face that causes us to “feel” darkness can never and will never compare. But it’s darkness to us all the same. With those anguished permeated words He uttered, He directed us to the next step we should take when our own world closes in on us in complete and total darkness.
Just before He breathed His last breath of mortal air, with a loud voice He cried out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Luke 23:46) From a feeling of desolation to a complete trust in His Father—He paved the way. He drew the road map for each follower to align his or her life.
Wanda followed. On Monday, February 11, 2008, travel plans were being concluded. We had arrived at the hospital the day before to find a weakened sister. The words from her husband, Mark, tore at our aching souls. “Come now.” Just two words. But with those two words, all of life changed. We both had been filled with a feeling of “I don’t want to do this—I can’t bear this—I hate this—but we need Your will Father.”
The hours spent after we arrived seemed to pass in a blur. Blur or not, they are forever etched in my mind. Teaching purposes. God is using them the teach me things I need to know. And remember. As Monday dawned and blood was drawn, vitals checked, the truth bore down on us like a raging bull. We each took turns talking to Wanda quietly. She couldn’t speak, her lungs were being squeezed by all the building fluid in her body. When she did try and speak it was breathy sounding and barely a whisper.
I had stepped out to go to the restroom down the hall when she uttered her last words. When I read the passage for today, tears fell as I remembered her own last words. Similar to Christ’s. With a question in her shakey voice, she said, “I don’t understand….(long pause for breath)….we trusted God”. Another long pause, and then with a resolute firmness amid the weak voice she said, “but I still trust Him”. He had paved the way. She had followed. All the way to the end. Over the next several hours, until she drew her last breath, we recounted her trust and faith in God. In all the years of her life, it never waivered.
Trust. Following Him. To the end.
And so should we. I am following. Aimee is too. We are still praying for many family members to take up the Road Map (Bible) and follow Him as well.
I have been blessed with an incredible family. But the God who planted me here…deserves all the praise and glory for any good thing that may come out of my life. Or your life.
But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14
Father in heaven, while I can’t completely grasp all that You have laid before us, I am more grateful that I can express. For You to love someone as sinful as me just amazes me. I guess that’s why the songwriter wrote about Your amazing grace…it is exactly that. Lord, there may be someone today reading this post that does not know of Your ultimate Gift to the world nor His sacrifice. I pray that they would find Your love here. Real in our lives. Living within us. And through us may Your love be spread. In the holy name of Jesus~Amen.
Sisters, we have only 5 remaining days. This study will end up on Saturday. A day when you will probably be cleaning house, putting up your Christmas Tree, or shopping for Christmas gifts. While you are going about, remember this tree. The tree from which a cross was fashioned. While you are buying gifts, remember this Gift. The very Gift that was given so freely to each one of us.
I will share more details about the next study in December, but until then, take some time to get alone with Him. Remember the journey that you have traveled down while we’ve studied together. I am sure this study has made an impact in your heart and life. I know it has mine. I love you all!
Keeping the Faith,