"Momma, the man has blood dripping down! What is wrong?" My seven-year-old son stared intently at the photo of Jesus on the cross—taken from the booklet that accompanies "The Story of Jesus for Children." "Momma, why doesn't someone give that man a Band-Aid?" I gently explained that my sin, his little seven-year-old sins, were the reason Jesus bled on the cross. My boy lowered his head and listened. Minutes later he lowered his head again and gave his heart to the Man bleeding on the cross.
My mothering motive is simple—shield my children from pain. I run around with tissues, sunscreen, snacks, hand sanitizer, anything I can think of to ease their way through a challenging, broken world that seeks to throw barriers between my babies and my desired outcomes for their lives: college, health, godly spouses, the occasional vacation at the beach. In all honesty, when my son brought me that photo, and I saw the sadness on his face, I wanted to say, "Oh honey, you don't need to worry about that." But he did understand, and even in his childish simplicity, my son was ready to respond to the call on his life.
Why does the pathway to "the life that is life"—as Jesus calls it—run right to the foot of an ancient torture device, where the best person who ever lived hung, abandoned by all His friends? Because our world is a disaster—no matter how much we try and pretty it up.
God's way to spiritual growth, infinitely better than my parenting methods, is an invitation to stare—long and hard—at the brutality of the cross. In that focused attention something remarkable happens "we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory" (2 Corinthians 3:18, New International Version). He's making us into the people we were always meant to be—not people propped up by self-help tools and positive thinking—but people offering their bodies as living, always-growing, sacrifices.
Jesus invites us to be transformed by His suffering for a purpose: He wants us to move around our daily worlds as His people. The mundane becomes sacred as "we always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body" (2 Corinthians 4:10-11, NIV). Even if it's a little messy, a life lived being transformed to Christ is too exciting to be missed.
How does living a life transformed by Jesus change how you move around in your world, just on an average day? Would you be willing to share a verse or thought in the comments section that encourages you in the messiness of life?
Let's cheer each other on as we are being changed by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus!