Man of the Ages
Valley of Joy
The Road to Bethlehem
The Winter Flowers
Just a Man
The Last Cry
One Set of Footprints
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Contemplate The Cross
No one likes to behold Him so brutalized. It’s more comfortable to look away and busy ourselves with the work He has called us to do. But when we feel all our strength ebb away, we know it is time to contemplate the cross.
We can see its outline silhouetted on a distant hill and we hear, “For God so loved the world He sent His Son to die for us all…”
Now do we come, walking slowly toward that far off summit. At first He is just a dark shadow and we are afraid to look, afraid of what we will see the closer we come.
Standing now at the foot of the heavy, wooden tower where He has been hung, we slowly look up to behold the Lamb that was slain.
His head is bowed, yet He can still see, and His anguished gaze beholds me. “Can you see?” His pain wants to know. “They have pierced My Hands and My feet. And these wounds are large enough to hold all your heartache and grief. There is no wound, nor shame that cannot find a place in My agony for thee. Can you see how much I love thee?”
The blood is flowing from His body like a scarlet shower, and as every drop falls away from Him, it finds a place in me. Every bit of strength I had lost is regained; every false thing in me is washed away. I contemplate You – holiness impaled to purify me.
It’s hard to behold this image of You so humiliated. You are naked at this moment before a jeering crowd. They are mocking you, demanding that You prove to them who You really are. They want evidence of your Godhood and yet, it is being poured out before them unrecognized, for they cannot comprehend Your giving.
We behold Your nakedness as You are beholding ours. You have become a mirror of our own souls so greatly marred. In our pride we stand before You in ruins we cannot recognize.
You are weeping now, and Your tears mingle with the blood that flows from Your heart and You cry, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?”
Some of us look up at the dark clouds gathering like a storm above our heads and we cannot comprehend this moment when God abandoned You because of our sin. And this hole in Your soul He filled with our isolation, rejection and loneliness. Fear was there too; a deep paralyzing terror of hell – a future without God that we would never know because of You.
You cried, Father, forgive them, it is finished.” Then You died. And you took with You all the pain, sin and sickness humanity could hide. You ripped it out of our beings with such force; it split the earth and severed the veil that had separated us from the God that loved us so – the Father God who before You came, had been too holy for creatures like us to really know.
I look at You in this final moment and my tears will not cease to flow. I know I am forgiven, repentance tells me so. But my soul is groaning. “I am so sorry for your agony,” I whisper, “for I know it is my rebellion that has put You here.” I say the words and my voice echoes with all of humanities’ multitudes.
I watch them remove Your body from the cross. You are so shriveled and dry from the blood You have lost. I look at it still clinging to the wood, staining the splinters there, and as it begins to rain, I know that these scarlet stains can never be removed and washed away.
I follow Your corpse to a hole in the stone, and I know now that it is time to contemplate Your tomb.
I sit with You in the darkness. I talk to You, but You cannot replay. I don’t know where you are at this moment. I know I am just alone and missing You. The Life is gone from this place, will it ever come back? That is up to you and what ever faith I can still hold onto in this dark tomb. I wait, wondering, will I always be so cold and alone?
I am so focused on my own grief I fail to notice that Your body has begun to glow. Although my eyes were open I didn’t see the Light that was slowly surrounding me. Then from somewhere I can hear You laughing. “Little one, why are you still here?”
In a burst of lightning I find that I am standing upon Your crystal sea. I am surprised to be here so suddenly. I look at my hands and they are holding a bouquet. I know that these magnificent flowers are the blessings Your love has given to me. I raise them to honor You.
The Throne is before me. I can see its outline silhouetted on a distant hill. As I slowly walk across the water toward Your domain, I tremble with anticipation. Your Presence is emerging from the Throne. You are coming to embrace me and I shall behold Your resurrected glory for the first time.
Your light comes closer and I am amazed at what I see. Your bride falls to her knees at Your nail-scarred feet; at wounds so deep, deep as the sins that put them there. I weep, because I know that it is Your passion that has put me here.
I lift my eyes to contemplate Your Glory – still beholding the Lamb that was slain. – Revelation 5:6
Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows…Isaiah 53:4
Copyright 2008 by H.D. Shively