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Love is Nails

They say that pictures speak a thousand words. It's true. There's a photo on our countertop of a foreign pastor and his family. His little children stare at the camera, unsure whether to smile or be frightened. The pastor himself does not satisfy the popular image of a pastor. He does not pose, but merely grips his Bible solemnly. He emanates no suave charisma or toothy grin. In reading about him, I find that this pastor's teeth were knocked out by persecutors in his village, who wanted him to leave and take his Christ with him.

Such are the Christ followers—those who bear Christ's image on their hearts. A few, such as the pastor, bear His image outwardly as well. The village pastor's face reminds me of Him who was also beaten and lived His life in humble circumstances as well.

Not many children born in barns are likely to be voted 'Most Likely to Succeed' or are on the 'Fortune 500' list. Yet His birth in the stable will never be forgotten. He entered life surrounded by a cloud of suspicion and disgrace—the son of an unmarried woman. Yet His coming was heralded by the stars. He was openly criticized, hated, and betrayed by a friend's kiss. Then He was crucified, beaten until so bloody that He no longer appeared human.

God's Son took the likeness of Man, and in His death even that likeness was torn away from Him. He became "one from whom men hide their face." (Isaiah 53:3) For what purpose was the One who was called the "Morning Star" and "Prince of Peace" beaten to a pulp?

1 John 4:9:

"In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him."

Because He loves you.

The foreign pastor was beaten brutally for the sake of the gospel. He suffered insults, disgrace, and great physical pain. And yet, he and his family have chosen to remain in his village, despite the persecution that they must face. Right now, they live in constant danger. No obligation ties this pastor to the tribe, and no one would ever blame him if he decided to immigrate to a safer location with his family. After all, how could anyone possibly expect him to love the ones who had cruelly assaulted him?

There can be but one explanation for his decision to stay. This pastor became a missionary because God placed a great love in his heart for the people of his country, and this love has not faded, despite mistreatment at their hands. In a small way, this pastor’s story is a reflection of what God has done for us. The very Son of God suffered so much more. His actions were confusing—even a paradox. The All Powerful God surrendered Himself into the violent hands of those whom He came to save. Such is the love of God.

God loves the world with an intense, passionate love—a love so deep and so pure that we can hardly begin to fathom it. On the day of Jesus' birth, God Himself entered the world—to die. And He did it out of love for you.

C.S. Lewis penned a poem, marveling at this as well:

Love's as hard as nails, Love is nails

Blunt, thick, hammered through
The medial nerves of One
Who, having made us, knew
The thing He had done,
Seeing (what all that is)
Our cross, and His.

by Hannah and Lindsey

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To BftH: I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and that you will have a blessed New Year! You girls have a great website here. The posts always make me think and are sometimes convicting, as well. May the Lord richly bless what you're doing here.

I also want to thank Hannah and Kristin for commenting on my blog. :)

Beautiful post - glad I found you!

Thanks for the post! It's definitely a needed reminder...especially in America where Christians have the "easy life".

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