Love hung on two beams.

It surprises me to see it there. I wasn't expecting that cross right there on the wall, the unstoppable light of the sun blocked by the two straight lines, making that shadow.

I didn't really want to think about Jesus dying on that cross yesterday, the day when all of Christendom was thinking about this extravagant, audacious expression of love. It's such a bloody, gruesome picture and I hate watching anyone I love suffer even just a little bit, so the thought of meditating on Him as the nails get pounded into his beautiful flesh or the as crown of thorns tears His brow was something I didn't want to dwell on.

But I can't get away from it.

The cross is the crux of His life here and the crux of my faith.

His Father didn't take this cup from Him. It was part of the journey of love, the ultimate expression of love, that even approaching death and in death He was taking care of the needs of others. Jesus, the One whose blood spilled for us, was thinking of us there on that cross. I pause for a minute because my vision blurs with tears but really, I see clearly now, and there is joyful pain in the seeing because love pierces. He was pierced with nails of hate and He pierces us with love. Love gets past our self-protection, the layers of hurt and pain that make us hard, and so we feel Love touching us. Love wants to dwell in us, to pierce our skin. 

The cross really is the great exchange where He takes my brokenness and gives me His wholeness. You see, I really can't get away from the cross. I can't strip it out of His story and I can't take it out of my story. It is because of the cross that I understand love, His love, that definition of love that He gave me so I would be able to stand confident before Him. It is because of the cross that I see the kind of character that God has, how He is for us and not against us. He has revealed that to us in a way that we cannot doubt.

It couldn't last, that place of death - that wood had no hold over the One who spoke the very tree into existence. Death couldn't keep Him down - Life poured back into His veins and brought that body up out of the grave. Death can't hold me down. That sting we feel, the pain, the loss, the longing, the suffering, it has no sting because Jesus overcame the grave. We have hope. I have hope. 

I don't have to walk around feeling naked and raw - He has clothed me.

I don't have to fear death - I have the promise of eternal life.

I don't have to fear abandonment - He will never leave me.

I don't have to be desolate - He has given me His spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

I trust in Him because He chose the way of the cross. I believe in Him because the cross was not the end. 
I look at the wall again and it's gone - that place of torture, disappeared. The sun shifted in all its glorious splendor and the shadow vanishes.  
He overcame.


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