To listen to Nancy’s answer recorded from Moody radio, click below.
I never experienced God’s love until I became a parent. I never knew that kind of love existed. Within minutes of the births of our sons and daughter, I would have laid down my life for any one of them. Now they are grown, I would do the same for them. Undoubtedly, most parents would. and this is human love that falls far short from God’s perfect love.
Try to imagine God’s love for His Son, His perfect Son. The agape love that God has for His only Son weaves itself into all that God is and all that He does. His sacrificing His beloved Son for us goes beyond our human comprehension. And Jesus, to pay the debt for sin, was willingly obedient to His Father and was tortured, beaten, humiliated, and hung on a cross to die.
“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7,8).
The gospel sounds simple, but it is much more than we can imagine. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,”
This is the mystery of God. We are so undeserving. Sadly, few of us realize the outrageous sacrifice both God the Father and God the Son had to go through to save our souls. It was on the cross where Jesus was experiencing all the torments of Hell. Even His Father turned his face away from the Son; the pain and agony He felt for His Son was too much. The Father and Son could have stopped such evil, but they didn’t. Why? Because God and His Son so love all those whom they created that he was willing to go through literal Hell to have a relationship with all of us. This is the Gospel. It is the Good News. It is our lifeline to God. It is how we can better understand that all suffering we endure has a purpose. Those who believe look forward to their future in Heaven with God, where there will no longer be suffering, pain, or death.
“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” (John 3:16).
The following is the story of Wilfred, a Christian from a small border town in Belgium. Wilford shared how, some years ago, he had been attending a conference in Switzerland. He described the unfolding events of one fateful day:
“The sessions were filled with hymns that resounded the reality of Heaven, and the speakers expounded on it. I was basking in the greatness of this hope and enjoying the promise of such a destiny. Quite unexpectedly, my name is called during the meeting to go immediately to the office as there was an urgent call awaiting me. I did and I picked up the phone to hear the somber and sobbing voice of my wife, Faith, informing me that our nine month old baby had, without warning, died in his crib a short while ago.“
He recounted that the news brought him to the lowest point in his life. The devastation defied description. The anguish and the anger built up within his heart to volcanic proportions, threatening to spew out his uncontrollable grief. He wanted to sue God for contempt of human life – so ran the litany of emotions that spelled one basic feeling, that of absolute bewilderment. He packed his bag, bought himself a train ticket, and sat alone in a seat, looking out the window where nothing seemed to ease the ache.
Across the aisle from him sat a man reading his Bible; opposite him sat two young people who did not try to hide their disdain toward the so-called religious books. The man holding the Bible finally responded to their taunts, and their discussion took on some heavy philosophical jousting. Finally, anger unmasked, one of the young men leaned over and said to the man, “if your God is so loving and kind as you say he is, tell me why he lets the innocent suffer. Why does he permit so much welfare? Why does he allow little children to die? What kind of love is that?
The questions, especially the last two, stabbed Wilford in a way he had never felt before, and he caught himself on the verge of blurting out, “Yes, you religious zealot! Answer them and me, and tell me why he lets children die. What sort of love is that?” But a strange mental transformation took place in Wilford’s mind. He waited for the other man’s answer, and then he looked at the two young men and found himself saying, “Do you mind if I enter into your conversation? I’ll tell you how much God loves you; he gave his only Son to die for you.“
The young men abruptly interrupted him and argued that it was easy for Wilfred to make platonic pronouncements disconnected from the concrete world of death and desolation. Wilfred waited for the appropriate moment because he needed every ounce of courage and conviction to say it once, but to say it clearly. “No, no, no, my dear friends,“ he said. “I am not distanced from the real world of pain and death. In fact, the reason I am on this train is because I am heading home for the funeral of my nine month old Son. He died just a few hours ago, and it has given the cross a whole new meaning for me. Now I know what kind of God it is who loves me; a God who willfully gave his only Son for me.“
Philippians 2:5-11, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”