From a distance the group of men look no different than hundreds of others that have left the city to spend the night in the hills. The celebrants, being more in number than the city's capacity to hold, have to sleep wherever they can find space. The hills surrounding the city are covered with tents and booths and people are milling about the whole area.
They are twelve men, walking slowly, listening intently to one who appears to be their leader. They leave the eastern gate of the city and follow the well-worn path down to the brook Kidron, pausing occasionally as the speaker makes a point he wants them to remember.
As we draw closer, we see the speaker is instructing more than conversing with his followers, and there is a sense of urgency in his voice. As they approach the brook the leader stops so suddenly that two of his men stumble over the ones in front of them, then gathering themselves they stand, waiting.
The moon has been the only light as they made their way through the night, and now it seems to increase its brightness as the leader pauses and looks toward heaven. His followers gather around him in anticipation, thinking perhaps he has some special words to add to what he has been telling them.
Just before he speaks, we too see his face shining in the moon light and we are as entranced as his friends. There is a brightness that is almost iridescent. It is awe inspiring as we see the face of one totally enraptured in what he is "seeing". His eyes are fastened on some distant place in the night sky. A look of longing spreads over his face slowly like a ripple on a pond and a smile forms as a tear winds it's way from the corner of his eye making a path down his cheek through his beard, before dropping to his cloak. He opens his mouth and speaks in quiet reverence, in holy awe, one word filled with such love and absolute trust, that all but He fall to their knees as one!
John 17:1 "And Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven and said;
Here we have the Son of God on the precipice of great anguish and inexplicable spiritual, physical and mental pain, calling out, not crying out, but calling out to his Father in adoring, worshiping love!
We can see a smile of child-like trust as he looks up,---
As a father I remember the eyes of my children as they looked up to me and said, "Daddy." They trusted me to solve all their problems, heal all their hurts, remove all of life's obstacles and they never questioned my ability to meet their needs and wants, or my love.
My love for them was more than expected by them. It was more than believed to be there for them, it was lived in. They lived in the protection of, the deliverance of and the warmth of my love. If someone were to have asked them then or even now, though they are adults, if their dad loves them, they would look dumbfounded. "Well of course he does! How stupid to question whether dad loves me! He has always loved me. I've never even wondered about that. Why don't you ask me if I breath air?"
Matthew 7:7 "If ye then being evil know how to give good gifts, (love is definitely a good gift), to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?"
If a human father, being evil compared to God, won't deny any good thing for his children, "How much more---?"
As Jesus says, "Father", his voice and attitude denote not only complete devotion, but also complete trust.
I remember the trusting eyes of each of our children melting my heart and I realize that God my Father loves me more than I love or loved my children either now or when they were small! So should I trust my heavenly Father less than my children trust, or trusted me? I think not!
I believe this is the hardest thing for us to overcome in our relationship with God. Our traditions or denominational doctrines have taught us to fear God, to doubt him and his power or goodness and to blame him for tragedies. Then they tell us that he loves us and we should love him!
Tell a parent who has just lost a child or a widow, that God in his love took their loved one because he, God, needed him or her more than they did, (now that's neurotic or just plain stupid), but they are to love him anyway and believe that he loves them! How can we expect people to trust a God who "steals" their joy?
We accept in religion ideas that are so utterly illogical, that we would reject them out of hand in any other relationship. In fact if our God is responsible for the acts we accuse him of, we could put him in prison! And we should!
Our God is love, love doesn't hate!
Our God is life, life doesn't kill!
Our God is merciful, mercy doesn't torture!
Our God pities us, he doesn't prey upon us!
God took the greatest tragedy of all of history, the murder of His Son, and turned it into the greatest triumph of all history, the redemption of mankind! When tragedies occur we need to remember the source and the reason.
The source is God's enemy who attacks His creation because the enemy wants us dead! If it weren't for the love of God, Satan would have killed man in the Garden of Eden!!
The reason, is sin. Sin entered the world and caused death and all other of man's distresses. So when tragedy strikes, remember the source of the attacks and run, don't walk, run to Jesus, tell Him all about it. Rest under the arms of a mighty, loving, caring, protecting, delivering Father and watch as He turns Satan's devises into His, God's, victory! We are to be instruments of God's glory and one way to do that is to submit to him, allowing His love to overcome Satan's hate.
Romans 12:31 "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
We need to have the attitude of Jesus when we go to our Father.
"Father I trust you completely. I love you fully. I believe you without any doubt. I commend myself, spirit, soul and body to you and your keeping. Right now Father, I fall into you, knowing that your arms are stretched out ready to catch me and to hold me safely in your care."
to be continued
John Dumke 1996
Copyright © 2017 John H Dumke
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