But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 (NIV)
It caught us all off guard that morning in Montana when “Wes,” the big tall rancher, began speaking. We had spent several days listening to each other’s stories at the retreat and ministry center in Blackfeet territory. We do this at many of our workshops. We encourage participants to share the deep pain that life has brought their way. Through sharing our stories in a safe place, we are able to minister to one another and find healing (James 5:16). We ask participants to prepare a “ten-minute story” about their lives.
We begin our days with worship and a short devotion. On this particular morning, the rancher was asked to lead us. He began to weep and spoke as though he was Jesus telling his “ten-minute story” of going to the cross for us. It was a holy moment. It was so powerful, because we seldom think of the emotions Jesus must have had while He was being persecuted and abused in those last hours.
“Wes” wept as he spoke the words that may have been the thoughts and actual words of Jesus.
“I wanted them to know how much I cared for them. But they still spat on me and cursed me. Some of my best friends abandoned me, yet I longed for their presence. Even my own Father, yes, my very own Dad, was absolutely, nowhere to be found. Yet, I so desperately wanted everyone to know that I wanted to heal them, and could heal them, but they would not listen. I wept that day, maybe more than ever before, not so much because of the physical pain, though that was excruciating, but because of the great pain in my heart because no one understood how much I loved them.”
As the big rancher sat down, the room was silent and still, as if Jesus was right there with us! And of course, He was more than we could fully understand or know!
Dear Lord, thank you for going to the cross for us. Help me, Lord, to understand how much you truly love me and that you went down that very dark and lonely path so I could truly know your love. Thank you, Lord, for inspiring me again this season to serve and love you more deeply than ever before. In Jesus’ name, Amen.