It's just a normal Thursday. Other than getting skunked by the weatherman (who had me prepared for a foot of snow, only to wake up to a 1/2?) there is nothing extraordinary about today. I am at the church for our office hours, putting the finishing touches on my sermon for Sunday, cleaning up a bit. Just a routine Thursday. We have a busy Easter week coming up, including our first Good Friday evening service, so I decided to grab my guitar and practice the songs we have planned.
Ever have one of those moments where out of the blue, you are struck with sudden feeling like you are about to weep hit you deep in your chest, only to stifle it as it rises to your throat? Not a weep of sadness or pain, just something else? That happened as I sat down with my guitar. I hadn't even hit a chord yet. I know that now to be the Holy Spirit when it happens, but I still catch myself trying to suppress it as my eyes begin to tear up. I pondered it a minute and it passed, and I began to go through the songs. It hit me again as I sang the very first line of the very first chorus of the very first song.
"Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe"
Wow, Andy. It's no secret that you are a weeper, but this is nuts. I stifled the tears again and pressed on. I got that song done, and the second, third and fourth songs as well. Still wondering what emotion the Holy Spirit was stirring in me, I began to play the last song. I made it through most of it with dry eyes, until I sang this
"What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered was all for sinners' gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain!
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! 'Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace."
I have known the truth, and the weight, of what Jesus did for me on the cross for about 18 years now. I preach it every Sunday, sing about it every Wednesday, but sometimes it just hits you. Today was that day. I wept, and wept. I thanked Him through tears. I thought back on my life and all the transgression that was mine and truly thanked Him for taking that deadly pain, the cost I had incurred, on Himself to spare me from the horror of being separated from Him for eternity. As I sat there, probably looking like a crazy man to anyone that walked by the door of the church, I felt His love. I felt His forgiveness. I drank in His mercy. And then I wondered…
"Why today? It's just a normal Thursday"
I think the answer is simply to remind me that today is not just a normal Thursday. Today is roughly the 936th Thursday that I have had the undeserved, unearned privilege of being saved. 936 weeks ago, I came face to face with the cross. I came face to face with the reality that Jesus truly suffered the horrendous agony of the cross for one reason; to save me. I came face to face with the fact that as Jesus hung there, spikes in hands and feet, bleeding, suffocating, gasping for any bit of air He could get in His lungs, He thought of me. Knowing the end from the beginning, he saw my first 30 years of life. Many of those years in open rebellion, squandering every bit of common grace He had given me. He saw my cheating, lying, drunkenness. He heard my filthy language, my cursing Him, my open mocking of His people. But yet, He went through it all to make a way for me to have all of that forgiven, and to be in a right relationship with Him, as He had designed.
That is what broke me today. He loved me enough to suffer the slaughter of the cross to make a way for me. Me. Not only that, but still going through with it all knowing that many will look at this gift He offers, and turn it down. There is no greater love than that.
Oh, how He loves you and me.
"And now complete in Him,
My robe, His righteousness,
Close sheltered 'neath His side,
I am divinely blessed.
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it, white as snow"