Today I spoke to somebody who told me that if they spoke about the fact that they loved Jesus in their home country, they and their family would not only be oppressed – they would be executed. As a young woman living in Australia, with the freedom to love my heavenly father freely and openly, this really struck me. Have I taken this beautiful thing for granted? Do I take my God for granted?
I’ve never really had to give anything up to have a relationship with God. I came to him as a little girl with an open heart and mind, and accepted him as my creator and saviour in my early teenage years. I’ve never had to abandon friendships to pursue him. I married a man who loves him as much as I do and encourages me to love and trust him more each day. My parents introduced me to him, my brothers have stood by me as we have grown closer to him, and I have rarely been ridiculed or oppressed for my belief in him, or for the way I choose to live my life. This evening, I find myself wondering if I really understand the meaning of true sacrifice, or if I could ever have enough appreciation for everything Jesus endured to save me from a horrific, lonely, painful and eternal death.
However, I take comfort in this – nobody can fully understand what Jesus felt on that cross. None of us will ever feel the weight of the entire world upon his or her shoulders, because he took it upon his own. We might understand earthly sacrifice, or persecution, or pain, and maybe we can comprehend death to some extent. But nobody will ever endure the sacrifice that God made in giving his only son, or the torment and death that Jesus experienced the day he was crucified. I have so much comfort in the fact that there is life because he took all of that upon himself and rose victorious as our living, life-giving saviour. I have hope that some day, when everything is said and done, I will join with my brothers and sisters in Christ from all countries and all generations to sing praises to our God in complete awe and freedom.
He is risen.
Hallelujah, He is risen indeed!