I have been blessed to have parents who love each other deeply. Theirs is a great love story of 63 years and counting. In many ways they are polar opposites. Mom is a social butterfly and loves people around. Dad, like me, would choose a sofa, solitude and a great book over a crowd any day. But their relationship, while it entails compromise, has always been one of tenderness, endurance, passion and playfulness. My friends used to giggle when we would come into the kitchen and catch Mom and Dad necking while she fixed dinner.
I marvel that every married couple in the world has choreographed their own love dance…each one with its own tempo, style and meaning. There must be as many kinds of love in the world as there are people. Every time a human being loves, it is absolutely unique. The love of man to mother, uncle to nephew, girl to great-aunt, great-grandparent to great-grandchild, friend to friend…the mathematical possibilities are vast.
You would think that with the hundreds of different people I have loved and been loved by in my lifetime, I would start to understand the love that God has for me. I don't. I know the love for His children is so deep and so intense that it makes all these other love relationships seem bland, if not downright artificial. That our sovereign God loves me, Mary Hieb-Ekstrom, enough to put His son to death, a death that I deserved, so that my sin-stained hell-bound soul would be reconciled to the Almighty and I would live with Him for all eternity…
…well, I can sort of imagine it would be like me having enough love for the pesky little ants crawling all over my driveway that I would allow Sam to be sacrificed so these ants could be brought into my home to live on pile carpeting for rest of their worthless lives. I DON’T THINK SO!!
My husband loves me enough to take a bullet for me. I would take one for him. But I don't think that is unusual for any people who deeply love each other. Those knee-jerk heroics happen often. But Jesus did not just react to a random act of violence. He didn't just "take a bullet" for us. His Father PLANNED the entire thing. Jesus intentionally acquiesced to torture and crucifixion. He anticipated it. He knew exactly what He had to do and for whom He was doing it.
I was worth dying for. You were worth dying for. God thinks we were worth dying for. It takes my breath away.
The Creator of the universe loved me enough to sacrifice His own son's life to pay the debt He never owed for my sin. I cannot even begin to comprehend that love. It is not in my intellectual realm to conceive of such a lavish love. I only know that I am incredibly humbled and thankful to be one of His unworthy recipients.
On this Good Friday, I am grateful for the unconditional love of my husband and son, which is my daily oxygen. I am grateful I can still watch the time-tested love of my mom and dad, which strengthens me. And I am most abundantly grateful for that love which I will never understand.
The love that said, "Mary, you are Mine. I love you with an everlasting love. And you were worth dying for."