“My heart churns within Me; My sympathy is stirred.” Hosea 11:8
“…do not make the Holy Spirit sad….” Eph. 4:30(NCV)
What does that mean? It means that God hurts, that God has a cross at the very center of His existence. Scriptures teach that it was a part of God’s plan from the beginning for there to be a cross. In fact, before he created mankind Jesus was as good as dead.
“…the Lamb (was) slain from the foundation of the world.” Rev. 13:8
The cross says a lot of things to us. The doctrines that surround the cross are exciting. But one of the most beautiful things about the Father . . .is that there is a cross at the heart of God . . . because of us. He hurts.
My mother is a wonderful Christian woman. In many important ways the reason I am a Christ follower and able to share The Good News with pre-followers is because of the love of my mother. I can remember times when I was such a rebel as a young man that as I walked past my mothers room on my way out for some hell-raising I could hear her praying for me. That always insured that I had absolutely no fun at all with the hell-raising.
On more than one occassion I would hear those prayers and change my mind about going out that night. I figured, “What’s the use? It won’t be fun any way.” Nothing dampens carnal enjoyment like the thought of your mother on her knees in her bedroom praying for you.
I know that many tears fell from her eyes as she prayed for me. Now, take that and multiply it a hundred billion times and put it on a cross. That’s God. Because there is a cross right at the center of God’s heart.
In his book Mortal Lessons, Richard Selzer, M.D., writes:
I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth, has been severed. She will be thus from now on. The surgeon had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; I promise you that. Nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had to cut the little nerve.
Her young husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me, private. Who are they, I ask myself, he and this wry mouth I have made, who gaze at and touch each other so generously, greedily? The young woman speaks. ‘Will my mouth always be like this?’ she asks. ‘Yes,’ I say, ‘it will. It is because the nerve was cut.’ She nods and is silent. But the young man smiles. ‘I like it,’ he says, ‘it is kind of cute.’
All at once I know who he is. I understand and I lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with a god. Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show her that their kiss still works.
Love is not demanding that someone change to meet you. Love is the changing of self to meet her or him. That’s what Jesus did for us on the cross. He contorted His face to meet our twisted smile—to prove that the kiss still worked. He became like us in our pain; He became like us in our despair.
“For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:21
God loves you. You don’t have to perform for Him. God loves you totally. And nothing you can do can ever change that.
Someone explained that kind of love to a Chinese woman for the first time. With tears in her eyes, she said, “I always knew that there ought to be a God like that somewhere.”