See the Cross

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My husband is a huge fan of the band U2. In case you’re imagining him merely smiling at “Where the Streets Have No Name,” allow me to expound: My husband has been to twenty-three U2 concerts, he has met Bono many times, and has even had an extended, personal conversation with him. He’s camped out for their concerts on numerous occasions, knows every word to every song, and when presented with the option of having dinner with anyone in the world, he chose Bono. If you’re wondering, I chose my husband. But, no big deal.

Because of his passion for the band, he tried early on to instill in our children a love for their music. He tried, but with little success. As they grew older, my husband would infamously say to his offspring: “If you would just come to a concert and see them, you’d get how awesome they are.

So, at eleven years old, my son went to a U2 concert with his dad. After a five-hour drive, an eight-hour wait in line, and two hours of taking in a concert from the front row, my son told me: “Mom, it was awesome.” And there it was. My husband knew that if my son was able to see U2, it would change everything. And it did.

In so many ways, this is exactly how we should consider the cross on this Good Friday. Its symbol is everywhere; we even adorn ourselves with this popular image. But the cross does not seem awesome until we actually see it, until we deliberately look beyond the physical representation and see how its beauty changes everything for us and our children. It may take some special leading but consider taking a spiritual journey with your kids this weekend in order to see the cross and understand better just how awesome it really is.

See the Plan
As a parent, I struggle daily to not let my best-laid plans for my children hover over them. For example, because of the way I was brought up, I decided early on that my daughter would never dance. Sound ridiculous? It didn’t to me…because I believed what I thought was right superseded everything, including trust in the Lord’s plans.

Today, my daughter is an incredibly talented and beautiful dancer. When I see her move on the stage, I’m filled with awe at the gifts and talents the Lord has given her. Oh, how quickly I allow my petty worries and fears get in the way of the Lord’s beautiful plan for my children, a perfect plan that will surely include success, failure, heartache, and joy.

When Jesus came to earth, he came knowing that the cross was the plan, a plan that unfolded throughout Scripture and was brought forth because of the boundless love of God for His children. Surely, the “Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus knew from the beginning that He would be born in order to die.

When we see the cross, we see the part of God’s plan that reveals His incomprehensible love for His children. God loves you so much that He planned to send His one and only son to suffer and die on your behalf. Trust deeply in the strength of His love as you watch God’s plan unfold in your life and in the lives of your children.

See the Pain
In seeing the beauty of the plan, we cannot fail to also see the pain. I don’t like to see suffering, and as a mom, I admit I try hard to keep my kids from it. When my mother was dying, I did everything in my power to protect them from the heartache of seeing their grandmother in her weakening state. It wasn’t until my youngest cried in bed one night, explaining that she just wanted to “hold Ya-Ya’s hand,” that I realized I needed to let her see and understand what was happening.

We need to see the pain of the cross, as difficult as it may be, and we need to allow our children to see and understand it as well. The love of Jesus is felt deeper when we recognize what He endured. Jesus felt so much anguish before the crucifixion that He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane asking twice that the Father take the cup and let it pass from him. His soul was grieved with such intensity that Jesus sweat drops of blood.

What he faced on our behalf was beyond painful; it was unthinkable. For you, Jesus was “…stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace…” (Isaiah 53:4,5). When we see the extraordinary pain He endured, we see the amazing peace that He gives.

Because of this peace with God, we can let go of our need to control, which only produces anxiety, and experience instead the freedom that comes from relinquishing to the One who understands fear and who lovingly guides through trials. The peace we have with God because of the cross is more profound than any difficulty we or our children will ever face in this life.

See the Promise
I’ve had dear friends who’ve lost children – a mom who kissed her baby good-bye, and a dad who watched his boy take a final breath. I can think of nothing more heart-breaking than this kind of anguish because of our broken world.

But we have the promise of the cross. And that promise gives us hope of a day when all things will be restored. That promise reminds us that death has not won – it’s been swallowed up forever! Fear will not prevail – it’s been conquered by our risen King! What unfolds tomorrow may seem daunting, but fear not. The power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead is the same power that is at work within you and in the hearts of your children.

Because of the cross, we can know God’s boundless love, His perfect peace, and His promised hope forevermore. Take your children by the hand and lead them to the foot of the cross. By God’s grace when they see it, they’ll begin to understand just how awesome it truly is.

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