There are moments in your life that completely change and redefine you. For me, one such moment has been becoming a mother and holding Rosa in my arms for the first time. In that moment, when I saw her beautiful face, felt her curl up into me and stare at me with eyes curious and loving, my world reshaped with her in the centre. No longer was I a wife and workaholic; my priority was her health and well-being. All I ever want for her is to know that her mother loves her and that she is important. And these days, not only can I not imagine my life without her, but the thought of her in pain or struggling brings me to tears.
Suddenly, I saw the world differently. Over the past few weeks as I have read about girls getting sexually assaulted at work and school, I have dreaded the thought of this happening to my daughter. I have reflected on my experiences at school - the ingrained habits I do to protect myself in public and have prayed that Rosa would not need to act in a similar manner. All I want to do is protect her and I would give my life for her.
Similarly, my understanding of the Bible and the experiences of parents and their children has changed. For example, while prior to Rosa’s birth I objectively understood Abraham’s choice to sacrifice Issac (Genesis 22), after Rosa my heart hurt for the choice Abraham faced. Truthfully, if I was faced with the same choice, no matter how much I love God, I am not sure I would be able to take that step of faith. That is how much I love her.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16
So, for God to decide to sacrifice his son for us - a being who not only he loved but was a part of him is in so many ways beyond my understanding. Rosa, for all that she grew inside of me, for all that I gave birth to her, is a separate being to me. I am connected to her, but not in the same way God is connected to Jesus. They are the same being (John 10:30) - God was giving up himself for us!!!!
Think about it. Think about the person that you love most in the world. It may be your child, partner, parent or friend. Now imagine deciding to sacrifice them, not only intentionally putting them in the position that they are going to die, but die in the most horrific, painful way possible. The Roman’s created the cross for a person to suffer - bearing all their body weight on nails stabbed through their hands and feet. The agony a person on the cross would experience would be unimaginable. As they grew tired, they would struggle to breathe, their shoulders would burn from the pressure and being directly in the sun they would be parched from a lack of water. And they would be experiencing constant piercing pain from their skin tearing at the nails holding them in place. In Jesus’ case, not only did he face all of this, but he also had a crown of thorns causing open wounds on his head (John 19:2), so (apart from the pain of that) the salt from his body would cause it to continue to sting. It’s an excruciating way to die - which is exactly the way it was designed to be.
Worst of all, as Jesus continued to suffer (for us remember), he was separated emotionally from God (Mark 15:34). When I am in pain, I seek comfort from those who love me - Michael, my parents and my brother. And yet in Jesus’ case, not only did one of his closest friends - Simon Peter - deny he knew him 3 times (Luke 22:54-62), but God turned away from Him. And I haven’t even mentioned the emotional pain Jesus must have had knowing another friend had betrayed him (Luke 22:1-6) and that all of this was caused by the people he came to save (John 12:44-60; Luke 22:66-67). In that moment, during that physically suffering, Jesus also suffered emotionally from the disconnection from God and the betrayal taken by humans.
And yet, knowing this - God not only allowed this to happen, but planned for it (Matthew 16:21).
That is how much God loves us.
God loves us so much that he allowed his son - a part of him - to suffer physically, psychologically, spiritually and emotionally for us. A being that was entirely blameless (1 Peter 2:22) died in place of us so that we could have an (undeserved) second chance. So we can have a second life - a life connected with him and going home to him.
I wonder - could you do that? Could you allow the person you love most in the world to experience that much pain for the sake of someone who has constantly wronged and hurt you?
Honestly, I am not sure I could.
But God did. And in doing so, in that moment when Jesus cried out “it is finished” (John 19:30), when he died and rose again, we became redefined. Our worlds were reshaped and no longer were we separated from God but we again became his children (Galatians 3:26). Jesus died to be the “way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) connecting us to God.
So, as you continue to reflect on the actions of God. On the love he has given us, of the sacrifices he made, I wonder: How do you define yourself? Are you only a friend, worker, partner, or parent? Or are you also a child of God? Do you truly understand the sacrifice God made for us? And how do you need to change because of that sacrifice?
As always, God bless.
- Written by Ashleigh Crosilla.