"The Lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil. So the Lord was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart. And the Lord said, "I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, I will destroy every living thing - all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them." But Noah found favor with the Lord. (Genesis 6: 5-8)
It occurred to me that ever since I was a little girl and heard the story of Noah, I had fixed my mind on the fact that God wanted to destroy every living thing. If you really wanted to sum up the story...I may have told you, "The whole world was wicked and so God wanted to destroy it all."
The part I kept overlooking was the sentence, "It broke his heart."
I can think on times as a parent that my children, whom I love dearly, did things that broke my heart. It wasn't that I was angry with them, it was more that I wanted the very best for them and by their disobedience they wound up doing things that ushered in harsh consequences. It was at those times that my heart grieved. This wasn't what I wanted for them. I wanted so much more. My heart of love wanted abundance for them.
I am learning that God has a heart...and it hurts. It hurts with what hurts us.
Perhaps the Great Flood was millions of tear drops of sacred ache. Maybe the expanses of water that covered the whole earth were slow drips of sadness from the omniscient eyes of God. Perhaps the floodgates of God's grieving heart burst open and every crevice of the earth filled with the sheer weight of His brokenness.
The Flood was the flood of God's grief born of love.
God in His love and goodness, had mercy on His creation and so He made a way with the rough hewn timbers of the ark for Noah, his family, and two of every creature He'd created, to find their way to safety and salvation.
God's love outlasted His grief.
God could have wiped the world clean and washed His hands of the mess, but He chose to keep suffering along with His creation.
God then gave His people the Covenant of the Old Testament. On tablets He gave His people laws to obey that would lead to freedom. Keep the ten commandments and be able to live in communion with the Alpha and the Omega.
But no, His people grieved His heart, not once, but many times. God, instead of sending an ark, fashioned a cradle of holy timbers that would hold this God-made-flesh Savior in its arms.
God looked at the world and once again, His heart broke. Tears fell and He knew He had to bring heaven down to earth.
God chose to come and live among His people as Jesus Christ the Son. He put on human flesh and He endured human pain and suffering. As an infant Jesus wept. He knew pain from hunger and cold. He grew to know the pain of being ostracized and hated. When His friend died, Jesus didn't preach...He wept.
In His ministry Jesus was mocked, betrayed, lied to, forsaken, abandoned, beaten, broken, hated, forgotten...He experienced heartbreak from a complete human perspective. He cried real human tears.
God the Father grieved once again. He had sent His Son, but the world rejected Him. He sent a Savior and the crowds yelled, "Crucify Him!"
Jesus was stripped, beaten, flogged and inhumanely nailed to the timbers that made the cross. While His Son died the cruelest death, God wept. The love that poured down from God's broken heart was like holy water to our parched souls. The flood of Christ's blood made white our sinful stains.
Ann Voskamp writes, "On that Cross, they speared His side and pierced straight into His heart, filled with pain, and it was the water and blood of His broken heart that gushed right out, a flood of love." (excerpt from "The Greatest Gift")
In everything God has done, the motivation has always been love. Love that came not in sparse drips, but in raging and fierce floods. Because we broke God's heart, He opened up the ark, the cradle, and the cross. Because He loves us so much He allowed His holy heart to break in two and make a way for us to draw near.
It's a tale of tears and timbers from a God of love who cannot deny Himself.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your heart of love for me. Thank you for hurting when I hurt. Thank you for being willing to grieve the loss of your precious Son so that I could be with you forever. Forgive me for thinking that you are an angry God that keeps score of my sins. Let me see the God of love that would flood the earth with water and flood the souls of man with Christ's blood so that we would be saved. From the cradle to the cross nothing can hold you and no expanse is too great to encompass your great love. Let my own tears remind me of all the tears you've shed over me and lift my head to gaze into your eyes of love for me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
What about you? What misconceptions have you had about God? Do you see Him as a God of anger or a God of love? Do you believe that God grieves over you and all of creation; that He endured the pain of sending His Son for us because of unfathomable love? How does that change you this Christmas?
ps. Congrats' to Amy D. and Judy K. - winners in the "Women of Courage" book drawing. It's still not too late to give the gift of love, joy, and hope to the children of Redeemer Christian School. No amount is too small to make a huge impact. Visit our Giving Page...thank you.
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