When Jesus was talking about the Kingdom of God, or how much God the Father loves us, he used a lot of metaphors. Essentially he would do this: “God’s love for you is like this. The Kingdom of God looks like this…” He did that primarily because God’s love is something that you need to conceptually understand, but that is only the first bit. You also have to feel it. You have to be able to picture something that defies explanation.
A bit challenging, eh?
Every now and then we come across stories that are so shocking in the depth of love they describe, they come reasonably close to doing the same thing. While not at the level of scripture certainly, they do inspire. They remind us of what we must remember: God’s love isn’t at all like ours, we are just a poor reflection of his love, even in our best moments.
But sometimes those best moments can still be stunning. And they can remind us all how well and powerfully we are loved.
Today, take a look at an example shared by Floyd McClung in his book, Finding Friendship With God.
During the Korean War, a pastor in a small rural village awoke one morning to find that his young son, his only child, had been killed. Apparently some soldiers had slipped in during the night and randomly executed a number of villagers in a brutal act of terrorism.
The pastor was beside himself with grief. He had looked forward to his son someday following in his footsteps and becoming a pastor. Now his friends feared for his emotional stability, so severe was the grief he experienced over the boy’s senseless death. It seemed so cruel, so unjust…
Finally the Korean pastor decided what he must do in return for this act of violence. He announced that he would hunt down the men who had killed his son and would not give up until he had found them. No obstacle would stand in his way; no hardship would deter him. The grief-stricken father resolved to do whatever it took.
Amazingly, he was able to learn the identities of the two terrorists, slip in behind enemy lines, and find out where they lived. Early one morning he stole into their house and confronted them. The pastor told them who he was, and that he knew they had murdered his son. “You owe me a debt,” he said to them. “I have come to collect it.”
The two men were obviously expecting to be killed in retaliation. But the pastor’s next words astonished them. “You have taken my son,” he said, “and now I want you to become my sons in his place.”
The pastor stayed with them for several days, until he was able to persuade them to come with him. In time he adopted them as his legal sons. He loved them and cared for them. They became Christians, went to seminary, and were ordained. Today, those two men are pastors in Korea — all because a father who was willing to do whatever it took to win them, whose love was utterly unstoppable.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away. 39 Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8.38,39 (NLT)
What is so shocking about the story of the Korean pastor is that his love just never seemed to hit the point where it stopped. As broken as he was about the death of his son, his love kept going. Though many of us would imagine our love for a son would drive us to act in vengeance, this pastor’s doesn’t. He simply keeps loving.
We are offered that same deal. God the Son, Jesus, came to earth to live among us, show us how things can be and then to die and be resurrected to atone for the penalty of our sins. God the Father was truly devastated as this was unfolding, but his love has never hit the stopping point with us.
You are cordially invited to walk through your life with the God that has amazingly invited you to be in covenant with himself. He will walk with you, support you, challenge you, correct you, laugh with you, and enjoy you. And if you are willing to keep walking with him, you will be a part of changing the world.
Only you can decide what your decision will be.
But you will never get a better offer.
Please come back this Sunday to one of our three gatherings to hear how we can very specifically do this. You won’t want to miss it!