All through middle school and high school I ran track. It was something I experienced some success in, and I loved it. There was a girl on my team who loved to run as much as I did but unfortunately she was not blessed with any sort of natural talent or speed. In fact I don’t remember a single race that she didn’t get last place in. The funny thing is her parents didn’t seem to realize this. I guess they were in denial because they went to every single one of our track meets and even though she never won or even passed anyone they cheered and encouraged her as if she had just won an Olympic gold. For some reason this really annoyed and frustrated me. At first I thought it was sweet and good of them to be so encouraging I mean after all she is their child that they love. But after awhile I just didn’t understand why they would let her believe it was okay to keep doing something you aren’t suited for. If they were ever to ask for my opinion I was ever ready for an enlightening explanation about the facts. (fyi—they never did) The thing is we were sprinters. We weren’t running a marathon; anyone who can run can finish a 200m dash. The purpose is to be faster than the other competitors or at least not come in last. My parents knew this. My dad wouldn’t even come to my meets if he thought I wasn’t working hard and would have a bad race. Why waste your time right? This is not something I still dwell on as an adult; I only mention it because it mirrors my thinking for a long time about Christ. I just couldn’t understand why He (the God of the Universe) would choose to send his son to die for us. It was frustrating and it didn’t make sense. Why waste the time? Who cares? I finally reconciled myself to the belief that He felt guilty. I mean we didn’t ask to be created right? And now because of Adam and Eve we were doomed to eternal damnation so knowing that He, Jesus, wouldn’t be dead forever He died for us. Maybe he felt some sort of moral obligation but love no love didn’t make sense. At least not that kind of love. And just why would God love us; we are mere clay to Him….right? In college a friend sent me the following passage of scripture: Hebrews 12:1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
I’m sure there are many lessons one might take away from these verses, but the part that stuck out to me is the word joy. Jesus loves us so much that it was joyful for him to die on the cross?! I find it so incredible that He actually wants a relationship with us that badly. Jesus could actually want and find joy in dying for us. I can’t say that I have now been able to wrap my mind around His amazing love or ever will, but I am learning to accept that there is such a thing as unconditional love. It is possible to love without reason. Not that I will ever be able to love the way God does, but just knowing that kind of love exist brings me comfort…and joy! :)
1 John 4:15-16
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.