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Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Lenten Healing: 40 Graces for Forgiveness (Day 38: Death)

My first child, a son, was born in September. That December I was asked to read at the ladies’ Advent evening at my church. The poem they gave me was written from the voice of Mary, about experiencing the birth, life, and crucifixion of her firstborn.
I was weeping before I whispered the first word of it, and choking back sobs by the end. Still awash in pregnancy hormones, and overcome with unimaginable love for my little boy, I could hardly take the thought of ever watching his death.
Apparently my performance was poignant; I only remember suffering both unutterable despair and profound embarrassment.
I cannot imagine losing a child, but even less losing one at the hands of another person. I have no wisdom or insight into this, and I pray I never will. If you do, my heart breaks for you. I’m so sorry.
God knows about it, though. His perfect, cherished son suffered and died a bodily death at the derisive, hate-filled hands of the very people for whom he went to the cross and refused to come down off of it till he could say, “It is finished.”
Do you know what “it” is? Death. In all its evil forms. Death was never God’s plan for mankind. Mankind chose it when we chose disobedience.
God offered his own child as a sacrifice to Satan on our behalf. Satan took it—Did Satan not realize before it was too late what that sacrifice would mean to his own kingdom?—and was forced to release his previously legitimate hold on us, when we call on Christ’s name as our propitiatory sacrifice.
I wonder, did Mary know all of this as she watched her son’s life ebb away? Could she, along with Jesus, say, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do”?
Could I?

* * *

“There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph…” – Matthew 27:55

* * *

God, I can’t even wrap my head around what happened on the cross that first Good Friday. It’s too terrible to understand. How did you do what you did? How did Mary survive it? Why do you think we’re worth such a price? All I can do is thank you for your love and sacrifice and forgiveness. Every sin I’ve ever committed—including each act of unforgiveness—helped nail Jesus to that wood. Make it real to me, God. Show me, even today, what it means for my life, and the forgiveness that should flow from me like Christ’s blood flowed from him.

40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey is now available in print. $6.49 at

With questions for personal meditation and space for journaling, this 40-day devotional series offers a deeper look at Christ's command that we forgive. For a personal pilgrimage, or as a resource for group Bible study,40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey invites seekers of forgiveness and healing to the path on which God longs to meet us all. $6.49 at Find out more about 40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey.

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1 comment:

  1. I, too, can't imagine losing a child. My heart goes out to those who have experienced it, some not only once, but twice or even multiple times. To think that Jesus GAVE His life for us and we tend to take it so lightly. It's a sacrifice that we can never repay but only accept and be eternally grateful.