A common practice during natural childbirth is Lamaze breathing. A nurse or birthing coach encourages the laboring mom to breathe through the pain. Speaking from my own personal experience with three natural births – breathing through the pain didn’t help one iota. I birthed all three of my babies with severe pain.
Humans don’t like pain. We do everything in our power to avoid pain at all costs.
Now – image you are Jesus and you’re stretched out on a cross many feet off the ground. Your eyes are swollen shut from the beating you received. Blood runs down your head from the crown of thorns piercing your skull. The rough-hewn wood rubs on your back that has been splayed open from the lashes you received from a lead-tip whip. A whip with bits of metal and bone attached to leather thongs designed to tear through your muscles and tissue until your skeletal structure is exposed.
You are suffocating and you desperately need to draw a life-saving breath – but to do so, you are forced to bend your knees and push up to expand your chest. Breathing is impossible because not only are your feet impaled with long metal spikes, your arms are stretched to the point of dislocation. The weight of your entire body is suspended on appendages being held up only by the spikes that have severed tendons and arteries as gravity does its part to pull you downward. You are slowly bleeding to death.
You are naked. You’ve been spit upon. Ridiculed and called every vile, filthy thing imaginable. Your shame is evident before a vast crowd of witnesses. Your friends watch on. Your poor mother stands helpless, watching as you suffer. Your pain is her pain. And you need to breathe – so you must push up again to draw even the slightest bit of air.
Could you have suffered as Jesus did to save mankind? I know that I could not. But with each painful, tortured breath, Jesus was thinking of those he died for. Each labored breath meant that we are forgiven – our sinful past has been erased.
Each precious drop of blood coursed down his battered body and secured our future home in heaven.
Every heart-rending cry gave us a reason for living.
Whatever you are going through, no matter your pain, your illness, your failures, your sins – God gave up his only Son for you. He is with you through it all and he loves you wholly and completely.
We can never pay him back. He doesn’t expect us to. All he wants is our love. Love for him. Love for each other. Love for ourselves.
Easter – Resurrection Sunday — is not about bunnies, baskets and colored eggs. It’s about the love of a Savior who suffered an agonizing death for me and for you.
What will you do for HIM today?
For when we were still helpless, Christ died for the wicked at the time that God chose. It is a difficult thing for someone to die for a righteous person. It may even be that someone might dare to die for a good person. But God has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! Romans 5:6-8 GNT
Blessings in Christ,