When I read about how Christ left His divine state to become one of us and lived a sinless life pleasing to God, it humbles me. I didn’t always feel this way about the sacrifice Christ made. Maybe it’s because I didn’t give it much thought until after the accident. Even then, it took awhile for the meaning to really sink in. I was too angry with God. Ever been there?
Of course, you have.
I tend to think a little to highly of myself. I have rights. Not only that but I expect God to acknowledge those rights—even respect them. That was my view when I walked into the emergency room after my husband’s body had been burned over 80% in a house fire. His skin was completely black, his head was swollen twice the normal size and the skin on his arms was gone. He was unrecognizable. The doctor gave him a fifty-fifty chance to survive.
Out of desperation, I pleaded with God to save my spouse from the rooftop of one of the buildings connecting to the hospital. My prayer went something like this.
“God, I want you to know I understand the situation completely. If he lives, I realize he probably won’t keep his arms, and I know what that means. It means he’ll never throw ball with his newborn son, and he’ll never hold me in his arms again. I get it, God, but please let him live.”
As the clock ticked, there was no response. My sweet husband’s body began to shut down. As I sat by his bed, I knew he was gone. But I couldn’t let go of him—I just couldn’t.
Then, I felt a strength come over me that enabled me to do what I couldn’t do alone. I got up from his bedside, walked into the crowed waiting room and announced, “He’s gone.”
Some time after that the doctor turned off his life giving machine and my husband passed from this world into the next.
After the funeral was over, I found myself alone, a brand new mother and a widow at the age of twenty-one. God had not honored my rights. He had not honored my pleas. If felt like God had turned His back on me, and so in anger, I turned my back on God.
Even though I was furious with God, I still attended church. That’s what good southern girls do. It was there I experienced a miracle of healing.
The pastor spoke about the Son of God taking off his royal robe and heavenly crown to put on the clothes of a carpenter so that we might know God. After the speaker gave an account of Christ’s life, he described His death. The best I can remember, it went something like this.
“They nailed Christ to a cross, placed a crown of thorns upon His head, gashed His side with a spear, spit in His face, gave him vinegar to drink, gambled for his clothes, and beat Him with a whip until He became unrecognizable flesh hanging on a cross.”
Suddenly, I identified with that word.
My husband was unrecognizable, too.
Sitting on the cushioned bench of my small country church, I had an “ah-ah” moment. Both Christ and my husband died a horrible death. The difference was had my husband known that working on that house would have ended tragically, he wouldn’t have gone—but Christ did. Jesus knew what men and women would do to Him and He chose to let it happen. He chose death.
As that truth sank into my heart, it melted away my anger and my pride. I felt humbled by Christ’s willingness to go the distance for me so that I might know God. Likewise, God also used the death of my spouse in to draw others to Him. Who was I to stop Him? Besides, God never promised me I would be a happy, healthy middle-class citizen. He promised me something more. Himself.
No wonder God is so please with His Son. His life of obedience and sacrifice, even unto death, paves the way for many to find peace with God.
I made peace with God. Eventually, I remarried a wonderful man, have two more children, a ministry of comfort and a heart that believes and trusts in the heart and will of God—no matter what.
Today, I live second by humbling myself and giving up my rights so others may know the goodness of God.