The memorable moments
climb out of the Linville Gorge after losing the trail on the way out.
I have also squeezed my bottom lip with a pair of pliers while standing on the top rails of a scissor lift 20-something feet above the concrete floor, been shocked more times than I can count (thus inducing me each time to do my geeky white boy unhappy dance) and gotten stuck in a wet suit, which my wife had to rescue me from (once she stopped her convulsive laughing, of course).
I have broken my arm while skim-boarding, had a heavy pane of glass fall across my head, and been dragged down the road behind a bike with a rope tied around my wrist after falling of off the skateboard I had been riding. I have been cursed in the vilest of terms by people from multiple countries around the world over a newspaper column in which I was deemed to be intolerant (irony, that).
There is a point to all of this that I am recounting. It has been the odd, painful, unusual moments in life that have turned out to be the most memorable. Honestly, I do not much remember that fifth hiking trip. But the things that used to be agonizing, terrorizing and panic inducing have through the years become the greatest sources of laughter, joy and comfort.
It was and is the same for God. If there has ever been an event that would seem to cause nothing but agony and bad memories it is the crucifixion of the Son of God. Isaiah 53 gives a prophetical description of Calvary, some 700 years before it happened.
It says “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
No one has ever endured a more agonizing, torturous, brutal experience than Jesus did. And yet it was his agony that made provision for our salvation. Romans 5:8 says “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Because of this Isaiah also said it “pleased the Father to bruise him.” Literally, nothing made God any happier than enduring agony and death for us.
I am quite certain there will be a whole bunch of times in Heaven when God is looking across his kingdom at all of the redeemed, and the Son looks over at the Father and says with a smile “Do you remember that time when...”
Bo Wagner, who holds a doctorate in theology, is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Mooresboro, N.C., a widely traveled evangelist, and author of several books, including a kid’s fiction book about the Battle of Chickamauga, “Broken Brotherhood.” He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.