By Joan Clayton: PNT columnist
Remember the day you enclosed your tiny baby’s hand into yours?
Remember holding that toddler’s hand when he or she took the first steps?
Remember the first day of school when you had to let go?
Remember that teenager driving for the first time?
Remember the day they left home?
My tears fell on Lance’s feet as he held me in his arms and whispered, “Mom, a Christian never says goodbye for the last time.”
Memories flashed as my husband and I boarded the plane back home. We don’t get to visit Lance and his family often, but a one-hour flight is better than a seven-hour drive.
The 30-minute drive to the airport from Lance’s house is a 30-minute goodbye for me, and by the time we reach the airport, I am emotionally drained. When will I quit crying while saying goodbye to those I love?
Those tiny baby hands I used to hold are now Lance’s big strong hands. His hands carried our luggage, and his hands led us to the security line where we hugged one more time. I couldn’t cry then because the line moved too fast … taking off boots … trays full of belts and purses.
We finally passed through security after a long line. I turned and looked back. Far down the security line, I saw Lance behind the chain watching to make sure we safely headed the right way. He waved a long goodbye, and I waved a teary kiss.
Then I thought, “God loves us even more than we love our children!”
We can love so much it hurts, but who knows that more than Jesus? His love is stronger than anything. His love has no end. He had you and me in mind when he endured the cruel cross. Think of the anguish, the pain, shame and degradation he felt. He looked down the stream of time and knew his sacrifice had to be to save mankind from eternal destruction.
Who can fathom this kind of love? The love of God surpasses all understanding. It reaches to the highest high and the deepest low. What would this world be like without love in it?
“‘The mountains may disappear, and the hills may come to an end, but my love will never disappear, my promise of peace will not come to an end,’ says the LORD who shows mercy to you” (Isaiah 54:10 NCV).
So I remind myself that a man came from Galilee to set me free. He suffered pain. He took my shame, paying a price … his sacrifice … securing assurance for my destiny.
God’s love gives hope and a reason to get up in the morning, a reason to go on even in the midst of trials. As long as there are people, there is a reason to live and to love. Love can heal the deepest hurts. Love brings peace in a sea of unrest. Love is the bridge to reconciliation. Love makes life precious. Take away love and you have taken away life.
I would rather have loved and been hurt than to have never known the ecstasy of love or the heartache of pain, because in that process I’ve learned the secret of life: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16 KJV). I believe God sends roses with thorns to remind me lest I forget the pain and love of his sacrifice.
Lance lovingly watched over us. Jesus does that too. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him …” (2 Chronicles 16:9 KJV).
Life delights in life. Jesus is that life.
Let Jesus watch over you.
Portales resident Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and published author. Her e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org