I had a completely different post scheduled for you today, but something happened the other day and I’ve had to rethink some things. (Don’t worry. That will be less vague soon.) In lieu of the post I had for you, I’ve pulled a quick one from the archives. I originally wrote this back in August 2010, when my daughter was just 18 months old and life looked a little different. I pray it holds a powerful reminder of something you already knew…and possibly an insight you’d never considered. Blessings to you today, friends.
I have a burn on my arm today, and it hurts.
It is the result of an attempted batch of cheese toast yesterday…and a toddler who wouldn’t stay back when I opened the oven door. She was having a rough day, I think because of a tooth that persisted in pressing on her little gums and a nose that was stuffy, and fought me on everything I tried to do all day. Getting her to stand back as I got our toast out of the oven was but one of the day’s challenges, and by the time I burned my forearm on the edge of the oven, my patience was gone.
I didn’t handle it well, and I’m not proud of the tone I used with her after it happened. It wasn’t a good moment for either of us, and though it wasn’t the first or the last frustrating thing about my day, it was the one that taught me a powerful lesson. My burn, really, happened because I didn’t want it to happen to my daughter. Essentially, I burned myself so that my child wouldn’t feel the pain of the burn herself.
If you let yourself think about that for a minute, it’s a pretty awesome illustration of what God did for us. He saw us in our disobedience and knew that it would result in untold pain and heartache for us; rather than allowing us to continue that way and meet with certain pain and even death, He willingly subjected Himself to what was coming to us so that we would never have to feel it. He stepped in to make sure we didn’t get burned.
The powerful thing about the illustration, though, isn’t just in what He did, but in how He did it. After I burned my arm yesterday, I lashed out. I was mad. I had told her to stay back, and because she didn’t, I got hurt. My arm stung and throbbed, and I was a little resentful of the pain I was in. I certainly wouldn’t have preferred that my little girl feel that instead of me, but I was angry that it had happened at all. It had been preventable. It didn’t have to happen in the first place. I was resentful and angry and wasn’t as kind to her as I should have been in the moments that followed.
When I look at God, though……His reaction is so different. He never became enraged. He never became resentful of the pain He was in because of us and our disobedience. He never shouted an angry “I told you so” at us, and never had to cradle His head in His hands for a moment of respite, doing all He could to not explode in an angry outburst of pain and bitterness. He only loved us with an ever-constant love, and extended to us an infinite grace.
I’m being reminded of the power of grace and mercy on a near-constant basis today. The burn on my arm is in an awkward place that is bumping against the table as I type this, and as I wince, I think of the pain He withstood for me…and the unfaltering love He has for me that made Him do it. What’s more, I realize that He did it gladly, more focused on the good it would do for me than on the pain it meant for Himself.
When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:33-34)