How is it possible to love a sparrow, or a chicken, or hamster, or any other animal?
I was discussing this today with a friend, and realized something I’d never really put into words before. When you put time and love into something, you get attached.
So, when a pet dies, we cry.
I had a student, who I’ll call Sreylee. (Not her real name.) Sreylee was in my English class for a year, and worked hard. She was always near the top of my class. And furthermore, Sreylee wanted to learn more about Jesus.
Then her family pulled her out of school.
And watching her walk away… I cry.
It wasn’t her choice to leave. But in a country where 97.1% are Buddhist, following Jesus takes a real commitment, since that decision means leaving behind your friends, neighbors, and sometimes even your family. I never had any extra-special connection to Sreylee, but I put time and love into my students, and I get attached. I pray every day for her to be in heaven. How, I don’t know. Nor do I care. As long as she is there. And if my giving up something would make that possible, I am more than ready.
You know these tears… The tears we cry over a pet, passed away. The tears we cry over a person we may never see again, a person who is looking for God’s love.
Jesus has put infinitely more into each of us than we are even capable of. Even if we were to give up our life for someone, which you and I have never done, it wouldn’t compare… For we’d only be giving up this temporary life. He was willing to give up his eternal life. On the cross, when He bore the sin of the world, we are told that God the Father, though definitely present, had to turn His back. And Jesus could no longer sense His presence. He did not have the assurance of being resurrected. And yet, He stayed on the cross.
Why? For you. For me.
If then, Jesus has put this much love and care into each one of us, imagine the tears He cries over every mistake, every failure, we make. Imagine the joy that fills His heart every time we learn something new from the Bible or spend time talking to Him. Imagine his elation over each of His children that give their hearts to Him, His agonizing heartbreak over each one who walks away.
I want to share in that joy, those tears. Father, may I?