February 15 – Outrageous Love

February 15 – Outrageous Love

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Dad, I have terrible news. Bob has been badly hurt in a diving accident. Please pray.” My daughter-in-law’s voice at the other end of the line was quiet, and though she was in control, terror lurked around the fringes of her words.

I sat at my desk, stunned. I cried out to God to spare my son. Bob had just made a fresh commitment of his life. I thought of the conversation only three days earlier when he told me, “Dad, it’s time for me to stop circling tIle harbor and launch out to sea.” He was reaching the summit of his career as a photo-journalist, his marriage to Susan was idyllic, I had just received another of those exquisitely crafted love letters he periodically wrote me. What a terrible time to die. “Please, God,” I cried. I felt so helpless; dared I even hope?

Ten minutes later the phone rang again. “Dad, Bob’s with Jesus …” Hot tears flowed as if to wash away the pain, and friends gathered to embrace me, but the wound was too deep to be healed. Sons are meant to bury their fathers, not fathers their sons.

In those days I began to think about a father’s love. I would do anything to protect my son. If given a choice, how gladly 1 would have taken his place. I would never choose to let him go, not for anyone. Yet God did just that. He chose to give His son for me. That’s how much God loved me. I was not a family member, not even friend. An enemy. And, unlike me, God did not have two sons left. His only son. For me. Outrageous love.

I had always thought of Jesus’ love as supreme. And perhaps it was. And yet…. and yet…it is one thing to give up one’s own life, but the life of your beloved son? I began to feel a little of the pain of the brokenhearted Father. I wrote;


What was YOUR Gethsemane?

And when…

And where…

Did you decide,

Against all heart and reason,

To abandon your beloved one?

And that for me—

Oh, worthless substitute!

Like the piercings of a sword

We hear the cry,

“My God, my God, why

Have you forsaken me?”

“What love,” we say.

And yet…. And yet…

Was not the Savior’s piteous lament

A mere echo

Of that broken-hearted cry

Reverberating down the endless

Corridors of heaven,

“My Son, my Son,

My beloved Son,

Why have I forsaken you?”

No greater human love,

Christ taught, than when one

Gives his life.

But Father’s love explodes

Beyond the reach of

Highest, deepest, and most untamed

Flight of human thought—

God gave not life, but SON.

His ONLY Son.

For me…

Parents may give a son or daughter for love of country; a: firefighter in a rescue that fails. But for an enemy? Yet “God has shown us how much He loves us-it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:1).

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