Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Best Kind of Overwhelmed

 If you are a mother, I’m sure you have moments when you wonder how you could love your child your child so much. Tonight, I had a long strand of those moments as I was cradling Riley Grace in my arms while she slept. I was overwhelmed with just how much I love her and how I would do anything for her. I was overwhelmed with why in the world God entrusted her to Patrick and me. I was overwhelmed with how much God has used her to bless us, change us, and challenge us. I was overwhelmed with thankfulness that God planned her to be a part of our family even when we thought it wasn’t our plan! Our poor baby has been sick all week with a cold and fever, and she is miserable. Today after work, all she wanted to do was nap on me until bedtime. Although I hate for her to be sick, I was relishing the sweet moments of cuddling because, if you know Riley Grace, you know that she rarely wants to cuddle because she’s always on the go! As she was laying on me with a cool rag on her neck to hopefully reduce the fever and give her some relief, I began praying for her to be healed and be able to rest. As I was praying and feeling so in love, I began thinking that the love I have for her as a mother is nothing compared to the love the Father has for us. The familiar song, “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” popped into my head as I was looking at her sweet face. Read it prayerfully, and be reminded and overwhelmed of what the Father did because He loves YOU.

How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure that He should give His only Son to make a wretch his treasure?

How great the pain of searing loss! The Father turns His face away as wounds which mar the chosen One bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon a cross, my sin upon His shoulders. Ashamed I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.

It was my sin that left Him there until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life; I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom, but I will boast in Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection.

Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer. But this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom.

Wow! This song is a precious reminder of how deeply the Father loves us. Can you imagine allowing your child to experience pain on purpose? Can you imagine your child asking for you to take away the pain, and you deciding not to take it away because you had a purpose for it? I would never desire for Riley Grace to have to go through a painful experience. It hurts my heart to see her in pain. God allowed and ordained for Jesus to go through pain. Why? For us. And who are we? We are the “wretch” that the song is talking about! We are the sinners whose sins held Christ on the cross. And we are the ones who gained from the Father’s love and Jesus’ obedience. Why was all of it necessary? Because God’s wrath upon our sin had to be appeased, and rather than punishing us, He made a way for us to be reconciled to Him that involved placing the punishment on HIS SON. He allowed Jesus to endure so much humiliation and shame, even when Jesus asked if there was another way. The Father answered that there was no other way, and so Jesus was obedient to death on a cross. Why? Because He treasures each one of us! Jesus felt extreme pain, but the Father also endured pain as he allowed Jesus to endure all of the pain. Think about how much the Lord must love us in order for all of the pain to be worth it. To God, we were (and are) worth the pain and suffering.

As we go about our day wrapped up in all of our daily tasks, it’s easy to forget the magnitude of the love of God. The devil loves for us to be too busy to notice God. Busyness (even busy with good things) keeps our focus on the tasks at hand instead of on having an eternal perspective. When we’re busy, we don’t stop to stand in awe of God’s creation. When we’ve heard the story of the cross a million times, we may not be overwhelmed by it anymore. BUT if we will take the vital time to stop and think about His great love, it can take our breath away. Hopefully, it overwhelms us and brings us to our knees in worship and adoration.

THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE LOVES YOU! Don’t brush past that as a Sunday School statement that you’ve heard a million times! It’s true, and it’s crazy! As my own worst critic, I know that there are many unlovable things about me. I’m sure you could say the same thing about yourself. But God loves you! You were worth the pain of the cross! You were worth the pain of the Father having to watch his Son endure the cross! Don’t waste your days and thoughts on busyness and the worries and cares of this world without remembering to praise the One who loves you so deeply. Have you experienced His love? Do you know that Jesus’ death on the cross was so that you could have true life? Do you believe in the One who died to rescue you? I hope that you do!

1 John 3:1 “See with what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

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