A couple of years ago after I had completed my chemo treatments and was “safely” on the other side in recovery, I was going over all I had gone through and all God had done for me. I remember thinking something like: Christ gave His life for me and I am healed regardless of whether cancer reappears or not.
Life felt good. My hair had grown back, my routine was returning to a new place of normal, and I had taken on an exercise routine that included hiking some of the tallest mountain peaks in North Carolina. Wow! I thought, I’m really Cancer Strong and cancer free!
I celebrated and that was good thing, but God had something He wanted me to learn.
But there was so much “hurray” chatter going on in my mind that I didn’t notice Him slipping up close in my thoughts. That’s exactly what happened. His still small voice spoke to my heart, and His Words had such impact that they are still with me today.
While I chattered on in my head about all He had done and all that I would do, something more important was coming. I remember as I picked out my clothes for the day, His Words came quickly to my heart: “Would you be willing to sacrifice your life for [a particular friend]?”
I was stopped cold in my mental tracks. Instantly, I knew this was a serious moment.
Was God requiring me to give up my life for another when I had just gotten my life back? Stunningly selfish, isn’t it?
You know when God speaks because you can’t get away from His words spoken to your heart. You may fumble for an answer, but He knows the truth. Like the rich young ruler, that day, my heart was broken because I could not immediately say, “yes.” (Mark 10:17-27)
Could you? Would you give your life to save another? This is what Jesus did for us on the Cross! He sacrificed His life.
I’m still not sure all that God wants me to learn from that moment, but I do know He pulled back the calloused covering over my heart and showed me something about myself that I was not quick to admit. My first thought was selfishly of only “me.”
Sacrifice is easy when it includes someone you intimately know and love or someone, who is a part of your family.
Honestly, that day I had to walk away in sadness knowing His challenge was not something I could instantly do. I have thought about that moment every day since. The person He asked me about is actually someone I pray for each day.
Would I be willing to die in some way so another could live?
Not long ago, I watched a popular movie and one of the main characters made this statement: “Love requires sacrifice.” Of course, I thought, There it is again—the ‘sacrifice’ word. Giving of myself without looking for a human return.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friend” (John 15:13).
Did I believe God was asking me to die physically for another person? No, but I think He wanted me to see the core of my heart and whether I was serious about loving the way He loves.
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8 NIV)
Sacrifice is something we do in a lot of ways—sitting beside someone who is battling an illness; listening to another talk when you want to talk and broadcast your view; being faithful when all you want to do is leave; going beyond your comfort place to show God’s love to someone who is frightened and hurting; sticking with someone even when that person attacks you—and there are plenty more on the list.
We live in a world swirling with hateful accusations and actions. Could you and I be different and be willing to give ourselves to or for someone else?
If so, who is the one person you would dare to love beyond all earthy limits? Who would you love with the love of Christ even if they sought to crucify you the way the people did Jesus?
This is the week to make a new choice—Holy week— a week when all of Hell is crying out for you and me to hate and despise others. Hatred works deep within the soul changing who we are and discoloring our lives with darkness.
I want to open the windows of light and love in my heart and let God speak. Love requires sacrifice. Will you take His challenge to love the way He loves?