Jesus goes to great lengths to reach us
By LINDA CROW
I should've named my tiny Yorkshire terrier "Enigma" instead of "Zoe" because her quirkiness could stump the best dog whisperer.
For example, she loves to sit on laps, so whoever is planted comfortably is the momentary apple of her little eye, and she begs to sit with the sitter. The problem is, she cannot jump high enough to get to us. We have to lean and scoop her up.
Oddly, she then darts away, looking over her shoulder as if to say, "What are you trying to do, imprison me? Why are you so possessive?"
She repeats this approach and retreat until she is far from the sofa, causing us to forfeit prime couch potato time by getting up and carrying her back to our laps, thus creating a whole new, frustrating version of "fetch."
We've analyzed her bizarre routine, wondering if she is ...
afraid of being lifted to 2-foot heights.
playing a screwy game of chase.
a control freak.
communicating, like Lassie, that Old Man Hanson is trapped in a burning shed which toppled onto a railroad track and is now in the path of a locomotive and we must go save him.
Exasperated, I announced one day, "I wish I could become a dog and learn what is in that head of hers. I'd be able to tell her to stop this madness and convince her to trust us."
My family nodded in agreement, but I saw my son furtively dialing Dr. Phil and my daughter tracing "!PLEH" on the foggy window.
Allow me a very rough parallel here -- do you suppose this scenario is similar to how we often respond to the Father? In other words, do we "play" at knowing him, claiming we want intimacy but dart away when he gets too close?
Do you think we really fathom how far-reaching Jesus's love was, how he left a holy place and condescended to us on earth? Humanity didn't just happen to Jesus; he chose it. And John 10:18 says he gave up his life for us voluntarily. That is big love.
Because he decided to be Jesus and not a stone image or despot, we know he was misunderstood and despised. We know he endured temptation. He grieved when John the Baptist and Lazarus died. He celebrated weddings and loved children but never married or had biological children. In Jesus's death, the Father experienced what it means to have your child brutally killed. All of Jesus's earthly experiences culminated in propitiation for our sin but also in our assurance that he knows our struggles and our needs because he was "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3).
Jesus still reaches for us, and not half-heartedly -- he goes to great lengths -- leaves the couch, if you will, to bring us to him. Luke 15:4 and John 10 tell how he is the Good Shepherd who searches for the lost and for those who stupidly run away from his protection and love.
Do you sense the Shepherd reaching for you? Do you know your Shepherd's voice? Do you vex him with indecisiveness and lukewarm responses? Do you trust him, or do you doubt his ability to carry you?
Don't just glance at him over your shoulder when he beckons you. Stay a while. You can never thank him enough for the great length he went to so that you can be with him forever and know him right now.
Linda Crow, of Muncie, is the mother of three teenagers and works in youth ministry. Visit her blog at www.2nd-cup-of-coffee.blogspot.com.