Saturday, November 04, 2006

He Gave His Son...

"He gave his Son..." How many times have we read those words, heard them from the pulpit, perhaps used them ourselves in witnessing? Have they become so familiar that they've lost their ability to startle you? Perhaps we need to try to put ourselves in the shoes of the Almighty to capture the true magnitude of that sacrifice. Of course, Jesus was the one who left Heaven, coming to earth to be unjustly condemned and put to a shameful death, all to ransom each and every one of us from paying the penalty required for our sins. But how often do you stop to consider what that sacrifice cost his Father?

Kay and I were on vacation in the mountains of North Carolina this past week. We've gone there for five years now, and this year the fall leaves were absolutely spectacular. Colors changed every day, almost before our eyes. Sunsets were gorgeous. We continually reminded ourselves of how fortunate we were to be allowed to share this part of God's handiwork. Then I got the call. "Allen (my oldest son) has suffered a brain hemorrhage. They need to transfer him to a hospital where he can get neurosurgical care. What do you suggest?" I burned up the airwaves with my cell phone, and with the help of colleagues from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, where I served on the faculty for a decade before my retirement, we arranged for Allen to be transferred there to the care of an excellent specialist. Kay and I packed in a rush and began a 1000 mile drive back to Dallas, praying all the way.

Friends and family joined their prayers to ours. We stopped to rest, but sleep was difficult. The next morning, while driving through the mountains in Tennessee, I got the phone call from the neurosurgeon--the tests looked good. Surgery wouldn't be necessary, at least for now. This was the best of all possible scenarios. This morning I found Allen sitting up in bed, alert and joking, bored to tears with his enforced inactivity. He'll be observed for another week or more, have more tests, but we keep praying that things will continue to go well. For now, it looks as though my son has been spared.

All this has set me thinking about the anguish God must have experienced when He gave up his Son. On the drive to North Carolina, we listened to a CD of an address by Liz Curtis Higgs, recorded during the ACFW meeting. Liz pointed out that sometimes our writing has to have an edge to it, perhaps make readers uncomfortable, and that often this edge in really good writing comes from having experienced the same emotions as our characters. I've been thinking about that a lot. And now, when I read John 3:16, I have a better idea of what it took for God to give his Son.

May your writing convey emotions that will draw your readers closer to God, who loved us enough to send his Son.

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