As I watch these stories... I wonder what pasts shape the people I see. I wonder what the future holds and how much that unknown past will shape the future they allow themselves to have. I wonder how many of them walk this road unsure of their own value, unknowing of how precious and unique and priceless they are. I wonder how many of them fit these statistics:
50% of American youth will experience the divorce of their parents.
40% of American youth will grow up without a father figure.
How many of them walk this life overshadowed by fatherlessness, whether conciously or unconciously attempting to fill a void that should have been brimming over with love and affirmation? How many of them unconciously believe the lie: your own father didn't think you were worth fighting for, so why should anyone else?
But we all have a Father who thought we were fighting for. We all have a Father whose face isn't turned away, His back the only fading memory we have of what should have been a breaker against the storms of our lives. We have a Father who doesn't look at us with disappointment or shame or rejection on His face. Rather, our Father looks at us with compassion, with love, with hope, with sorrow for us and the pain we are experiencing. This Father is a Father of courage, who in the face of hardship didn't pack His bags to walk out, but to storm into our lives. In the midst of Hell, He chased after us as we stood in a howling storm, screaming to be heard above the tempest. As the hurricane grew in power, He cast Himself over us, shutting out the wind and the rain and the debris, taking the abuse, taking the pain, taking the death that storm intended for us.
And in the silence afterward, in the brokenness of His body that continued to sheild us even in death... His eyes opened, and they looked into ours...and there was not accusation and blame. There was... there IS... LIFE everlasting and LOVE neverending and HOPE never failing and PURPOSE and MEANING and BEAUTY and all those things we believed life could be when we were young and small and soft and sheltered.
Who is this Father, who would give up all things that we may have all things? Who is this Father who will never deny us, never walk away, never quit, never be content to leave us where we are and wash His hands of us?
He is known in His Son... the Son who sheltered us in the storm. The Son who looks on us with His Father's eyes... our Father's eyes. His son, Jesus the Christ. Jesus the Messiah. Jesus, our Immanuel. Jesus, the Light of the World. Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus, the Son of man. Jesus, the Lion of Judah. Jesus, the Beginning and the End. Jesus, the Alpha and Omega. Jesus, the First and the Last. Jesus... who has made Himself known to us so we could know His Father. Our Father. The Creator of the Universe and the lover of our souls.
"God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins." - 1 John 4:9-10(NRSV)