Because He Bled {DWITW 365}
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I do not know where to begin.
I do not know what it is to hear a last breath.
I do not know what it is to witness death’s arrival firsthand.
I do not know what it is to lose an only child or a dear friend.

I do know an adult takes 12 to 20 breaths in a minute.
I do know there are 9 to 12 pints of blood in the human body.
I do know grief cannot be contained by words.

I’ve read of Jesus’ death through the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These are stories I have heard for far longer than I have understood their gravity. They tell of Jesus being whipped, a cruelty shaped by leather lashes studded with bone and metal (Mt. 27:26, Mk. 15:15). They speak of a twisted, thorny crown forced upon His head (Mt. 27:29, Mk. 15:17, Jn. 19:2). They recall a wooden crossbar and Jesus’ beaten body hung from it. They recount the darkness, His forsaken cry, a last breath. Death.

And in the wake of a torn curtain, I am undone.

I know what it is to exalt myself at the cost of another. I know what it is to accuse innocence. I know guilt intimately. My hands have dripped with it. Like Lady Macbeth, all the perfumes of Arabia could not sweeten these hands. The stains run too deep; I am marred with an inheritance of fault and a livelihood of selfishness.

I’m loved because God is worthy of it. I am loved because of who He is. As deeply as this shatters me, it was never about me. It’s about Him.

Yet despite my guilt before others - but more importantly before a God who is wholly other - someone else has come to take the punishment that I deserve. How could I be loved like this? Why would someone innocent take on my guilt? Why did Jesus choose to endure the pain I deserved, the death that was meant for me?

And I realize my focus is misplaced. I’m loved because God is worthy of it. I am loved because of who He is. As deeply as this shatters me, it was never about me. It’s about Him. It always has been. And it always will be. God alone is deserving of our affections and attention. And to make a way for me to love Him rightly, to glorify Him as He is worthy, He sent Jesus to do the very thing that I cannot do for myself.

I cannot restore what has broken, I cannot mend my own heart, I cannot correct the course of sin and send hope ahead to forge a new way. But a way of hope has been made, born of the blood Jesus; the only thing that could fully absolve my guilt. Because He bled, I can know life; I can know love.

What do I do with a love like that? A love that offers forgiveness in the dark. A love that gives peace knowing it will cost an innocent life. The life of a Son. Jesus. Only Jesus.

I now know where to begin.

While grief cannot be contained by words, Love cannot be contained by death. And as there is hope woven into the future, it is also anchored in the past. In the silent three days of death that then erupted in life. Life renewed in the broken body of a Savior, the Christ, God with us. Life restored to my guilty heart through pain I cannot understand.

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 Robin Zastrow wants to live in a world where coffee never gets cold and kindness abounds. When she's not discovering the wonders of construction paper and cardboard tubes with her two little ones, you can find her sneaking in another few pages of a book or jotting down bits of writing on scraps of paper.

One of her favorite Scriptures is:“Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22 ESV

One of a Kind {Team Journal}

Today’s team journal was written by our Administrative Director, Kate Haas. 

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I did not know, until recently, that comparison didn’t solely steal the joy of those around me.

For many years, I was looking for someone to see me outside of my circumstances. I began to believe that, though I desired to be unique, different, and one of a kind, it just wasn’t something I could achieve while also being known. The only option I saw was conforming to the measures I thought were being used against me, the one which would allow me to connect with others the way I wanted to.  I wanted to be deeply known and understood, while also being a little different. Maybe a lot different, but I like to skip, and sing silly songs, and make friends, and not share my food, and I think that’s generally okay.

I am unique because my Father is one-of-a-kind.

I could tell you fairly easily that I did not want to be compared to others. I didn’t want to match anyone, because then I would be even more like someone else. I wanted to be known for my best (self-diagnosed) traits, and I didn’t want anyone else to have these traits. If I was being compared to another by those traits, I had to win out, I had to be the best person people knew with that trait. If you’ve read that sentence, I know how it sounds. I would never admit that to anyone out loud, which is why I’ve written it down here, for honesty sake.

The worst part for me?  I knew that I could be known by God, so completely and fully that I wouldn’t need to worry about matching, or having similar qualities to anyone else. Could I trust this completely? No. That would send me out of control. I’ve also learned that I don’t like that much either. Maybe He wouldn’t really be able to know me? Maybe I’m too different? Sister, let me tell you that I am dead wrong. I am unique because my Father is one-of-a-kind.

How do I know that? Moses reminded the people of God as they entered the Promised  Land, and somebody wrote it down. Deuteronomy is a speech delivered by Moses before those with the ability would enter the Promised Land. He speaks on the law that was given to them for their sake, and they would perform it so that they could remain in the Land. He starts by reminding the people where they have been, and who their God is. Take a look: 

 

Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire, as you have heard, and still live? Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great deeds of terror, all of which the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes? To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other beside him.  (Deut. 4:33-35)

 

Did you hear that sister? There is none besides Him! There are no others like Him, and I was made in His image. And so were you! I was meant to be different, and I was designed to be fully loved and fully known by this God.  It was completely undeserved, but He offered me forgiveness, He gave me the record of His son, Jesus. Then He did more! He took me into His family to be counted as an heir.  Have you heard of a God like this, sister?  What an extraordinary God.

I have experienced comparison as the thief of my joy for far too long. I have hidden behind walls when I could have been hidden beneath the wings of the Lord. I will hide no longer, knowing God loved me first and designed me to skip, and sing silly songs, and make friends, and share my food a little more often (but I’m still working on that one! Give me time). 


Kate Haas wants to live in a world with free coffee, hugs, and deep conversations. When she isn’t in class, you can find her she’s at home with her husband and four-legged toddler reading a book or watching a detective show. Her favorite scripture is 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. [Amen? Amen!]