Joni Eareckson Tada. I have loved reading some quotes from her heart for years, but it was not until this new season the Lord has brought us to that her words were made so powerful. If you don’t know much about her, you should most definitely look up her story and be inspired. Essentially, she is a woman who through suffering (an accident that caused her to become a quadriplegic, breast cancer, and bouts of depression), has become more and more like Christ and has encouraged others through her story. I could post a million things she writes, but I wanted to give you all something that EVERYONE could relate to, not just the disability aspect of her writings. Please don’t miss this.
““The face that Moses had begged to see – was forbidden to see – was slapped bloody (Exodus 33:19-20).The thorns that God had sent to curse the earth’s rebellion now twisted around his brow…“On your back with you!” One raises a mallet to sink the spike. But the soldier’s heart must continue pumping as he readies the prisoner’s wrist. Someone must sustain the soldier’s life minute by minute, for no man has this power on his own. Who supplies breath to his lungs? Who gives energy to his cells? Who holds his molecules together? Only by the Son do “all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). The victim wills that the soldier live on – he grants the warrior’s continued existence. The man swings. As the man swings, the Son recalls how he and the Father first designed the medial nerve of the human forearm – the sensations it would be capable of. The design proves flawless – the nerves perform exquisitely. “Up you go!” They lift the cross. God is on display in his underwear and can scarcely breathe. But these pains are a mere warm-up to his other and growing dread. He begins to feel a foreign sensation. Somewhere during this day an unearthly foul odor began to waft, not around his nose, but his heart. He feels dirty. Human wickedness starts to crawl upon his spotless being – the living excrement from our souls. The apple of his Father’s eye turns brown with rot. His Father! He must face his Father like this! From heaven the Father now rouses himself like a lion disturbed, shakes His mane, and roars against the shriveling remnant of a man hanging on a cross.Never has the Son seen the Father look at him so, never felt even the least of his hot breath. But the roar shakes the unseen world and darkens the visible sky. The Son does not recognize these eyes.“Son of Man! Why have you behaved so? You have cheated, lusted, stolen, gossiped – murdered, envied, hated, lied. You have cursed, robbed, over-spent, overeaten – fornicated, disobeyed, embezzled, and blasphemed. Oh the duties you have shirked, the children you have abandoned! Who has ever so ignored the poor, so played the coward, so belittled my name? Have you ever held a razor tongue? What a self-righteous, pitiful drunk – you, who moles young boys, peddle killer drugs, travel in cliques, and mock your parents. Who gave you the boldness to rig elections, foment revolutions, torture animals, and worship demons? Does the list never end! Splitting families, raping virgins, acting smugly, playing the pimp – buying politicians, practicing exhortation, filming pornography, accepting bribes. You have burned down buildings, perfected terrorist tactics, founded false religions, traded in slaves – relishing each morsel and bragging about it all. I hate, loathe these things in you! Disgust for everything about you consumes me! Can you not feel my wrath? Of course the Son is innocent He is blamelessness itself. The Father knows this. But the divine pair have an agreement, and the unthinkable must now take place. Jesus will be treated as if personally responsible for every sin ever committed. The Father watches as his heart’s treasure, the mirror image of himself, sinks drowning into raw, liquid sin. Jehovah’s stored rage against humankind from every century explodes in a single direction.“Father! Father! Why have you forsaken me?!”But heaven stops its ears. The Son stares up at the One who cannot, who will not, reach down or reply. The Trinity had planned it. The Son had endured it. The Spirit enabled Him. The Father rejected the Son whom He loved. Jesus, the God-man from Nazareth, perished. The Father accepted His sacrifice for sin and was satisfied. The Rescue was accomplished.”
Truly, this is one of the most poignant explanations of the Gospel I have ever come across. Don’t you see? The worst part of the cross was not the physical suffering. The horrendous task at hand was that in that moment, Jesus took on every sin, every disguisting act that has ever existed. Yours, mine. All. Your worst enemy’s and your best friend’s. As you are walking through varying degrees of suffering or sin today, whether self-inflicted or not, my prayer is that you would live in gratitude of the One who took it all upon Himself. Let it bring out an attitude of thanksgiving and forgiveness in all that you say and all that you do. May it also spur us on to not avoid the uncomfortable, the broken, the dirty in which we see. We are the uncomfortable, broken, and dirty without Christ. With Him, white as snow. We have much to celebrate today,my friends.