2020 was supposed to be our year! At the start, everybody was ready for good to happen, and my word for the year was the perfect word for a wonderful year! Or so I thought.
My word was love; I wanted to understand the way God loves us on a much deeper level, to understand, from our Creator’s eyes, what love truly is. The thing about my relationship with God is that he knows I take my lessons best the hard way, and he provides for me practical life examples to learn by. So even though love is such a beautiful word, I knew that I would see painful and abrupt changes in my understanding of it.
Looking back at 2020, from the start, was like watching a perfectly timed catastrophe. Like an unexperienced man standing with his back to an open door of a plane, he loses his balance falling backward; in slow motion, out of the plane at 10,000 feet, with no parachute, with terror in his eyes, grabbing frantically at the plane but already too far gone to even feel it at his fingertips. He was free-falling towards the ground, at first seeing the plane shrink, smaller and smaller in the sky; not fully aware of the catastrophe he rushed towards. But then the wind whipped and twisted him, pulling at his limbs and shifted him so that he saw the ground rushing closer, and closer, and closer to him.
I didn’t get to see the happy-go-lovely version of love that we tout about in books and movies.. instead I saw the man smash face first into the earth, his bones shattered into a million shards that sliced through him.
I saw Christians slander Christ and blaspheme (Matt. 12:32) his name to promote their agendas apart from his word. I saw them twist and distort his word to use for their evil (2 Cor. 11:14-15), mock those who questioned them or stood aside to observe (Pro. 21:24; 2 Peter 3:3; Pro. 10:8-18) and self-righteously condemn others based on partial truths and outright lies. I saw chaos, hatred, lies, deceit, insurrection, and murder being touted as good! (Pro. 17:5; Psa. 1:1-6) I saw the human race showing the ugliest parts of their hearts! (Jer. 17:9-11) Friends, this is the gentlest way I can put what I saw last year! To say more breaks my heart still. It angered me so much to discover it in my brethren, which caused me to look at myself in it as well (James 1:20, Ecc. 7:9). I’ve been grieving for us all (2 Cor. 7:10, 1 John 1:9).
I asked myself how could God, the perfection of love, love the human race? (1 John 3:10, 4:8, 20; Rom. 13:10) When those who claim to know him blaspheme his name? (Gal. 6:7) Or side with the world over the truth? (1 Cor. 13:6; 1 John 5:19; 1 Peter 3:9) A race so corrupt in lies and deceit that what is good is called bad and what is bad is called good? (Isa. 5:20; Rom. 12:9; 2 Tim. 3:13) That even the redeemed of God reject sound teaching and refuse to acknowledge or be rebuked of their folly? (1 Tim. 4; 2 Tim. 4:1-5)
God created mankind in his image and likeness, male and female he created them (Gen. 1:26-27) and he said this is good. This world was made to be good (Gen. 1:31). Man was made to be good! But because of one man sin (evil) entered the world (Rom. 5:12). For the man on the plane, it wasn’t just a series of unfortunate events that caused him to fall. He was warned before the flight by the pilot to stay in his seat with his seatbelt buckled. The pilot was diligent to explain to the man that leaving his seat would cause his death. As long as he stayed in the safety of his seat during the flight nothing would cause him harm. But the Man did not believe his pilot and chose to disobey him, much like Adam and Eve disobeying God in the garden of Eden (Gen.2:15-17; 3:1-7).
God loves us because of God (1 John 4:9-11, Rom. 5:8). There is nothing about you or me that is worthy of his love, or his attention, or his redemption (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 3:21-31) God is perfect in every one of his attributes. He is perfect in his mercy and grace. He loves us because he is merciful! (2 Per. 3:9) He loves us because he is gracious! (Eph. 2:8-9) We are all the dead man turned to jelly on the pavement. (Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:1-7)
This isn’t a superman moment where we have been caught at the last second before destruction: We executed ourselves through our sin.
The man on the plane was dead when he climbed out of his seat and safety belt.. he just didn’t know it yet.
But God almighty, who perfect in love, mercy and grace, is also perfect in justice, wrath, and knowledge. His heart cries out for all of these things (Isa. 30:18, Psa. 33:5; Ecc. 3:17) A big part of love is doing what is good and right for the good of the loved one, even if they do not want or deserve it. That is why God, through the personhood of Christ Jesus, took our place on the cross for our sins (1 Peter 2:24; 2 Cor. 5:21; Col. 2:14) While man crucified and murdered the flesh (Matt. 27), God, with the full knowledge of all of the evil of mankind (Heb. 10:12; 1 Peter 2:24), poured his perfect wrath and justice meant solely for us on himself. (John 3:36; Rom. 5:8-9; 1 Thess. 1:10; Isa. 53:4-10) He took my place, for my evil.
That is what it means in John 3:16-17 God loves us so much that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him would not perish but have ever lasting life. For God did not come to condemn the world, but to save it.
If the man on the plane had believed the pilot, he would have had a joyous and thrilling time! If Adam and Eve had believed God their lives would have been in constant fellowship with perfection (God)! Believe in Jesus, friends, and be saved! (1 John 1:5-10) Conform to him (Phil. 3:21; and help with the harvest! Turn from your evil and embrace the perfect goodness of God!
I didn’t want to write this one for you. I didn’t want to deal with the backlash, or the anger, or the confrontation, or the attitudes of wounded entitlement, resentment, false pride or passive aggressiveness that could be directed at me for this one. I’m weary, tired of empty meaningless conversations and have come to understand the anger of the prophets. But as a believer in Christ I am compelled to emulate him in love for my neighbors and enemies alike. (James 1:22; John 14:15-31) Wake up! Wake up! Time is short! Your lamps are out of oil and the bridegroom is only steps away! (Matt. 25:1-13)
Humble yourself before God. Submit yourself to his teaching and authority. Turn from your way, and seek Yahweh, so that you may better love your neighbors and your enemies (do right and good to them). (James 4) Set aside all of your philosophies and agenda’s (Col. 2:8) that you may align your heart and mind to the Word of God! (1 Peter 1:13-25) Direct others to Christ through seeking and sharing The Truth with Love! (Eph. 4; John 14:6)
If you don’t think this word is for you, you are wrong. 2020 was everybody’s year. It was our wake up call that we are fast approaching our self-prescribed destruction. (Matt. 24) Don’t hit snooze on this one.. your time is running out. God loves you, his grace is offered with mercy will you take it in earnest and repent?
– Sara Ahnert