In losing my father, I have come even more to appreciate Christ’s life and sacrifice on the cross. He was in perfect communion with his Father in heaven, yet humbled himself to come down to earth, taking the form of a servant to the point of death on a cross (Phil 2:7-8, see also John 1:14). As part of that, God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son knew the pain of searing loss, the Spirit witnessed it, yet they did not stop it out of their love, grace, and mercy! Separation from my earthly Father feels like hell sometimes, but it has only been a shadow of the real hell. Jesus fully experienced this hell, the abysmal darkness of being separated from His perfect Father. He was torn from communion with the Father, all that is holy, good, and loving, in order to satisfy God’s wrath against sin (1 Thess 1:10) so that those who believe can be clothed in Christ’s righteousness (Isa 61:10) and reconciled to the Father (John 3:16; 2 Cor 5:18-19). I take great comfort knowing that He sympathizes with my weakness (Heb 4:15) and knows even more profoundly the loss of a Father.
I am coming to recognize more how my earthly father’s death is sanctifying me, making me more like Christ as I share in the fellowship of suffering (Phil 3:8-11). Even more than before, my heart aches for the lost, for those who do not know the grace and truth of the Triune Redeemer, and who face eternal separation from God. Even as He was hanging on the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34), demonstrating his desire for the lost, even those crucifying Him, to be reconciled to God.
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.
Behold the man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders;
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life –
I know that it is finished.
I will not boast in anything,
No gifts, no power, no wisdom;
But I will boast in Jesus Christ,
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer;
But this I know with all my heart –
His wounds have paid my ransom.
Stuart Townend Copyright © 1995 Thankyou Music (Adm. by CapitolCMGPublishing.com excl. UK & Europe, adm. by Integrity Music, part of the David C Cook family, firstname.lastname@example.org)