As some of you know, I was in Florida the end of October into the beginning of November for a national staff conference for everyone working with the collegiate part of Navigators. For those of us on EDGE Corps, it was 8 days of humidity, meetings, seminars, and debriefing. You'll probably hear more about this trip, but for your sake and mine, I will break it up into smaller chunks. This chunk is probably the only part that I can relay back to other people without looking at my notes, which is good because I don't have my notes in front of me right now.
Later in the week, we would have early morning group sessions. This one in particular was called "The Love of God." Sounded simple enough. The Bible is graced with many pages that speak on the love of God. I typed "love" into Bible Gateway and got 683 results (granted, not all of those results are about God's love, but I think you see my point). We had the special privilege of having Jerry Bridges, the second oldest collegiate Navigator, speak to us on this topic this particular morning. The verse that he used that stuck out the most to me doesn't even have the word "love" in it. It was Romans 8:32, which simply says, "He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?"
Why that hit me so hard
As much as I enjoyed my time in Florida, there were parts that were just miserable. I think there was only one night that I had a decent amount of sleep. Most nights that week, I was kept up by a really bad toothache. It would hurt mildly during the day causing a mild inconvenience, but come night time, I wanted to slice the right half of my face off. The painkiller I was taking wasn't helping. I asked God to stop the pain, to grant me some sleep. It didn't happen.
Jerry Bridges, in his message, talked about how we often turn to God and ask, "If You love me, why _________?" We can fill in the blank with whatever is bothering us at the time. We accuse God of holding out on us. Now, I don't think sleep is too much to ask for. But God essentially said to me through Mr. Bridges' message, "Jason, you are so ungrateful. You're complaining about your tooth hurting. You're complaining about a couple nights of sleeplessness. You've taken your eyes off of the cross. You complain about losing a couple hours of sleep, and don't realize that I've given you life. Not only this temporal life, but eternal life. With me. I loved you so much, that I did not spare my Son, my only begotten Son, but I gave Him up for you. So I could bring you to Me. You didn't deserve it. You still don't. You were My enemy, but I love you. I love you enough to make my Son suffer death and separation from Me, so you won't have to. Is that not enough for you?"
My prayer for you, the reader, is that the cross is enough for you, and that you not lose sight of what God has done for you--in spite of you being His enemy--because you set your sight on something that He hasn't done.
Thursday, November 12, 2009