Where Life Lies: The Sacrifice

I had this friend in college. She was more than a friend. I lived with her for 3 years. Like all of my roommates that I had, I knew her family. She was a few years older than me, but grew up and lived in the town I grew up in. We aren’t as close anymore, I am not sure she has met Olivia, but no fault of anyone’s except that life has taken us down different paths.

Over this past summer I read that her mother was in end stage liver disease, and needed a new liver like pronto. She could wait for a dying donor (but that list was long) or they could try to find someone who would be willing to be a living donor.

I remember thinking I should look into it… honestly that thought crossed my mind a few times in the months that followed but I never did anything about it. That is until December when I called the hospital to begin the process to become a living donor. I did that really long health evaluation. The one where they ask you every question under the sun about your health, and then they put the fear of God in you to let you know how intense a surgery like this is.

It’s invasive. Very invasive. A 6-8 hour surgery. 5-7 day stay in the hospital. Lots of pain. 6-8 week recovery. And I would need someone who would be an emotional support for me during the process (honestly finding a person willing to do this would probably be the hardest part). Apparently it’s not easy to do something like this.

But none of that scared me. I was moving forward. The paperwork for blood work was sent in, but then I wasn’t a match. When I talked to the nurse she confirmed that I wasn’t a match. She was just as upset as I was. The nurse and I had sat on the phone almost dumbfounded. Apparently it’s not easy to find a living donor, someone who is willing to actually go through with a surgery of that extent, AND someone who is actually a match. But even though I knew the sacrifice of comfort would be hard, I had been willing.

But I remember another sacrifice. A sacrifice that was enough, and is still sufficient. A sacrifice where there is no nurse to tell you I’m sorry.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace. Ephesians 1:7

He knew the sacrifice would painful, and even asked God to take it away if at all possible. Yet, nevertheless yielded to His Father’s perfect will. He didn’t turn away from the pain and obediently took the painful steps towards His horrific death.

There was no nurse that said what He was offering wasn’t enough. There was no nurse that said to Him after He told God Your will be done, that said but it’s not enough. Your blood isn’t enough.

No, He instead was the perfect match. The all-sufficient sacrifice. His blood type is universal. For everyone that would believe in Him. There is no nurse telling you that you are not a match if you believe. His blood type is “belief”.

He knew the sacrifice would be painful.

And He didn’t offer a portion of Himself as a sacrifice. But everything He had. In our lives we can often feel like that even when we give everything we can and are willing to give, it’s still not enough. Like there is always that nurse there telling you I’m sorry but

Beautiful One, you see the picture that I chose for this post. And I want to be honest, following Christ isn’t going to feel like standing on the mountain top with the sun shining on you all the time. It is not always going to feel like a resurrection. The resurrection may be coming, but it is not always going to feel like it.

Last week many of you read about my daughter’s trip to the emergency room. As I was worshipping that morning in church, I knew what the road ahead could carry. And I wanted so badly to ask God to heal her, and of course you do. But knowing what could lie ahead, my deeper prayer was Whatever lies ahead this better glorify You, because if it doesn’t it’s not worth it. Yes, the prayer was as demanding as it sounds, because it was desperate.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22: 42-44

A lot of times following Christ is going to feel like you are on your face in front of the cross, asking God to take away the pain, and we don’t want to go as far as Jesus and add nevertheless Your will be done. But that is where eternal life lies. That’s where abundant life lies. The life He offers is in what comes after the gut wrenching prayer nevertheless Your will be done. And do you know what immediately comes after this prayer? Look, see it’s not the end of the prayer, and we don’t often hear about this. But an angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. Then in His anguish He prayed more earnestly.

Honestly, I am not sure you can get any more heart felt than Your will be done. But that isn’t where His prayer ended.

We don’t know what He prayed, but while He did, sweat is said to have poured onto the ground like drops of blood. That is passion that is birthed out of love. A passion that is out of love for you. A passion that fueled Him to pray earnestly in the midst of His anguish. He didn’t run from it, He prayed through it. The sacrifice was made for you. He is enough, His blood is enough. Just believe. And the Father will be there, not to tell you I am sorry, but to tell you Welcome home my child.

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