This morning it hit me. As mom to a new, gorgeous and perfectly blameless baby boy, I came to realize something astoundingly beautiful about God. Something tired and old took on new life and infinitely more value through finally understanding it from a new perspective.
Let’s face it, we’ve all read John 3:16 at some point in our Christian life. It’s been plastered on signs, thrown around carelessly at times, and recited endlessly in Sunday school. And unfortunately, to many of us (myself included), its power had been lost in its overuse.
Until this morning. Until God painted a picture in my mind the way only He can and revived His Word anew.
See, we all too often focus on our end in that verse. God gave his Son to us, to the righteous and wonderful people we too often think ourselves to be. ‘Of course He would love me that much. I’m kind and compassionate, I give my tithe, I help orphans at Christmas time. Yay me!’
But think of a baby boy. An infinitely perfect, cooing little baby boy, with big beautiful eyes, soft skin, and a smile that melts your heart. Tiny fingers wrapped ‘tightly’ around your calloused one. Think of that being your only child. The one you’ve prayed for years on end to hold, the one you waited anxiously on for nine months as you grew to love him before he even drew breathe.
Now imagine a pack of wolves. Imagine a sea of the dirtiest, meanest faces you’ve ever seen. Snarls, gritted teeth and greedy eyes. Imagine these strangers laughing at you, calling you every insult in the book and spitting in your face. Dirt on their faces and under there nails, the stench decay.
See, we think too highly of ourselves at times. No matter how many good deeds we’ve done, no matter how deserving we think ourselves to be, even if in the least, we have at least once in our lives been that very ugly, very sinful creature, so easily despised.
Now as a parent, imagine handing your child over to that wicked mob. Imagine that beautiful baby boy being snatched from your open arms by people who you knew would simply rip Him to shreds, bruise his soft new skin and take his life without ever thinking twice. Could you even bring yourself to do that?
Shortly after my son was born I remember a kind, older lady at a party, a total stranger to us, asking to hold him. I remember the fear and hesitation I felt in that moment. I didn’t want her to see it, but everything in me just wanted to hold him tighter and never let go.
But God didn’t hold on. He still gave. He gave his Son to a clan of criminals because He loved us through the filth, the stench and decay. He somehow looked deep inside and valued that original God-breathed soul of ours so much that He gave what was most precious to Him in order to restore us.
Now that means something. That kind of gift, almost impossible to comprehend, that gift means I am free. It means that my precious baby boy is free – saved from the fate of His child because of His sacrifice.
A gift too heavy for words, and yet so freely given. I pray we never forget the magnitude of that moment. I pray we learn to be thankful for that gift in new ways each and every day.