Savannah came up on me as the tears rolled down my cheeks.
Like any 9-year-old, she wasn’t quite sure what to do. “Ummm, Mom?”
I explained that I was just feeling super mushy about what Jesus did for us. Thinking of all that he went through – the torture, the betrayal, carrying that heavy cross and being placed upon it.
“Yeah,” she said lightly, trying to ease my sadness, “But he wanted to, Mom.”
Well… I told her about the Garden when he cried out and asked God, “Take this cup from me…” He didn’t really want to, I said. But he was willing.
He was willing to do the extraordinarily hard thing for “the joy set before him.”
I think that joy was us. You. Me. Anyone who would say yes to him and receive his love. I like to imagine that as he carried the cross up that dark hill, he thought of our faces, our smiles, the freedom and joy we would know. As his knees buckled, he took one more step. For you. For me. Because that kind of love, the love that does extraordinarily hard things, changes us in magnificent ways and he wanted that for us.
And we get to do the same.
Do extraordinarily hard things for the people we love.
Caring for a dying parent as they walk through their final days.
Bringing in a hurting teenager when they have no where else to go.
Fighting for a marriage when the loneliness of broken love craters our hope.
Loving neighbors, coworkers, family members who are caught in their pain and sharp at the edges.
Standing with the sick and the weary and nursing them back to health.
Praying with endless tears for children who are caught in addictions.
Serving, serving, serving even when we are at the end of our energy, strength, resources.
Jesus did extraordinarily hard things for us, the people he loves, for the joy set before him.
I pray God gives us all what we need to do the same every day. That the joy set before us would be the vision of that same risen Savior with a great big smile on his face and open arms , wrapping us up and with loving pride saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant – you did the extraordinarily hard thing and I’m so proud.”
What a good day that will be.
Sunday IS coming.