Long ago I accepted the trinity not as something that I can logically explain, but as an article of faith. As such I tend to sometimes use the aspects of God (especially of the Father and the Son) interchangeably at times. When I was a younger preacher and speaking about the cross I would almost always stress the fact that God himself chose to die for us. Now that I am older and now that I am a father I almost always stress that God Himself sent His son to die for us.
Why the switch? If you are a parent you already know. Self sacrifice is one thing and it seems to be the greatest thing that anyone can do or be asked or do…until you have children, and then suddenly you see that the sacrifice of a child is an entirely different matter.
Ask me to die for the life of another and I think I would seriously consider it. Ask me to die for the eternal soul of someone and I think I might be on board. It is sad to say that if I was sure that people would know that I had died for someone else and my story might inspire others I would probably be more inclined to do it. I am sure that I would have some regrets, but still I think I could do it.
Now ask me to sacrifice one of my sons and I don’t know that I ever could.* I think it was that movie First Knight where the villain says, “Self sacrifice is easy. It is when you have to sacrifice someone you love that your convictions are tested.” And that is the truth about God. He chose to sacrifice someone he loved, his only son, for us.
Right now in Sunday school we are talking about the family. We looked at how God created the family so that we would understand him more. Think about that. God created the relationship between fathers and sons so that we would understand the depth of his sacrifice for us. He gave us children and that bond between parents and their offspring so that we would know just how serious He takes sin. To God sin is so terrible that He is willing to sacrifice His son to pay the price and He created family to be sure that we understood what a high price to pay that really was.
*As I typed that I don’t know if I could sacrifice my son, a bit of my old understanding of God crept in and made me not want to type that. “Why would you say that?” it said, “Now God is going to test you by making you make that choice.” As if God doesn’t know what I am feeling and thinking and would only do something like that if I type the words.
But that is a small vindictive view of God. God generally likes me, in fact it goes beyond that He loves me, loves me even more than I love my sons. He doesn’t want to harm me. He isn’t waiting just to zing me if I say something wrong. I don’t have to worry about praying for patience because I don’t want God to teach me about it because I trust God. I trust that He knows me and loves me and that He will lead me where I need to go and shape me to be like Him. It may not always be easy or fun, but I trust that He knows better than I do.