I'm reading Prayer - Does it Make Any Difference? by Phillip Yancy...one of my favorite authors. (It's SO good!)
Last night, I read a timely bit about Jesus' prayers. The prayer he prayed for wisdom in choosing his 12 disciples and His prayers for the two disciples, Peter and Judas, who would deny and betray him. At first glance, it would seem that God did not answer those prayers...after all, Jesus was crucified...had those two done right by Him, perhaps His life would have been spared...or does God work differently than we would think?
God used those two men to accomplish salvation for you and me. God's "freedom-respecting" style of goodness and grace, allowed those two men to exercise their free will to do as their hearts would lead. He gives you and I the same freedom. That is why we need His grace.
In the book, Mr. Yancy describes the "freedom-respecting style of good and the freedom-crushing style of evil". He examines Mark 9, where "a young boy was foaming at the mouth, gnashing his teeth and throwing himself into fire and water. In every way, evil possession transforms the boy into a caricature of a human being, forcibly overwhelming human freedom. Contrast that scene with possession by the Holy Spirit. Paul warns, "Quench not the Spirit and grieve not the holy Spirit of God" The Lord of the universe becomes so small, so freedom-respecting as to put himself somehow at our mercy."
As I ponder Good Friday...the day we recognize as the day Jesus, God taking the form of a man, died on a cross - the most degrading form of death at the time - to pay the price of the sin of every man, past, present and future...I think of this freedom-respecting style of God.
He doesn't die for us and then get in our face and say "LOOK WHAT I DID FOR YOU! OBEY ME!!"
He loves us and waits for us.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9
What is His promise? His promise is eternal life for all who accept His gift of grace...freedom from death...and the promise of eternity with Him.
"not wishing that ANY should perish"...not one. no matter what they've done. no matter who they are. no matter who they love. no matter where they've been...or how long it's taken them to see...to accept...to repent...because all have sinned...and all need a Savior.
I'm so thankful that God respects my freedom to choose...to believe or not to believe...
I'm so humbled that God, the God of the Universe, loved me...and you...little us...so much that He would die in our place so that we may live...
What a Good Friday!