A Father's Love . . . and Loss
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Dr. Thomas Dooley, the late missionary doctor in Laos, in his book entitled The Night They Burned the Mountain, tells the story of Laotian friends giving him a tiny Himalayan moon bear as a pet. Dr. Dooley loved the cuddly ball of brown fur, so full of interesting antics. While he was working on a cage for the animal, an old Chinese man walked by him. The man stopped, stared, and then began to sob as he stood before the cage. Dr. Dooley walked toward him, hoping to discover the reason for his tears.
The Chinese man told him how he and his son had once worked together on a commune in Red China. He reminded the doctor that laborers on the communes during harvest time were not allowed to have even one grain of rice for themselves, for it all belonged to the Republic. But his wife had become very sick with beriberi and malnutrition, and one day his son concealed a few handfuls of rice in his clothing to feed his starving mother. His act was discovered and the authorities decided to make a public example of the young boy.
He was imprisoned in a cage, not unlike the one that Dr. Dooley had built for his pet bear, and the cage was placed in the center of the city. It was so small that the boy could not move or even sit up straight. The man went on to say:
His mother and I were forced to watch, she from one side of the square and I from the other. But the guards would not allow us to go near him. Day after day, as we looked on, my boy died slowly under the broiling sun, with nothing to eat or drink, covered with filth and flies. It was good when the guards pronounced him dead.
The prolonged tragedy in this story is that the father was not allowed to save his son. He was forced to sit helplessly by and watch the horror unfold, and the image would remain with him the rest of his life.
When I read this story, the crucifixion of Christ immediately came to mind. What an amazing thought . . . God the Father could have stepped in at any moment to save His Son from the agony of the cross, but He chose to allow His death. Unlike the Chinese father in Dooley's story, our Heavenly Father could have sent a legion of angels to rescue His Son, bringing judgment upon those who sought His life; yet He willingly stood by and watched the abomination unfold.
Why? Because He loves you so much that He freely offered His Son . . . for your sins and mine.
Prayer Point: Take a moment to think upon the horror of Calvary. In humble contemplation, praise the Father for His amazing love that caused Him to choose to sacrifice His son on your behalf.
Extra Refreshment: Read John 17—Christ's incredible prayer to His Father before His own death on the cross, capturing only a fraction of the Father's love for you and me.
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