The Greater the Love


Were you ever in the desperate position of watching a loved one suffer physically?

Did you wish with all your heart you could take the pain and bear it for him?

Did you suffer mental anguish because there was nothing you could do?

Did you sit there and pray with a broken heart for God to please take the pain away?

Did it seem that the torture of those darkest hours would never end?

I suppose we have all been there because we live in a dreadfully wicked, wretched world. The greater our love, for the person, the greater our pain!

To be quite honest with you, I have been in this position several times in the past – all painful memories impossible to erase.  But I want to talk about the latest time with BletJhaw waking up after surgery.  He is my son you know.  We have a huge history of struggling together out in the Jungle Mountains.  We miss our families out there.  We are often too hot, too cold, too wet, too hungry, too thirsty and too weary as we constantly minister to the sick and suffering.  Going all-out, giving it all we’ve got to bring both physical and spiritual relief in all types of places, various weather conditions, and formidable, deplorable nasty roads, and nerve wracking situations with wild elephants etc! BletJhaw has always been my constant companion and support when my feet are slipping and sliding down the mountainside in the dark, when the poisonous snakes slither by, and the muddy quicksand sucks me down.  I only have love and respect for him….But now!

Surgery is always painful, but this one is worse than most.  I am beside the bed at Rajavej Hospital in Chiang Mai, thinking, why did I allow this surgery to take place?  Oh if I could just go back in time and cancel all this suffering?  Why did we go through with this anyway?  Anything to stop this pain!  But my logic has to admit that this was the only way for him to be able to continue our strenuous mission work in the isolated mountains.

Now he is writhing in pain, tears are falling unbidden and unrecognized by the silent sufferer.  I bring a wet cloth and wipe his face.  I look at Jerry, (BletJhaw’s brother-in-law), on the other side of the bed.  I see tears in his eyes.  I realize that my own face is wet with tears.  I give Jerry lip balm for the dry lips.  I am helpless.  I can do nothing but pray and wait.  We sit there on either side of the bed silent and broken for what seemed like an eternity.

*          *          *          *          *

…And then there is Jesus.

I do not want the sufferings and cross of Jesus to be this common thing that I have heard all my life.  I want to see it afresh.  Jesus is staggering, and groaning.  Twice he would have fallen to the earth if His disciples had not supported Him.  Alone He fell to the ground in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Sin was separating Him from the Father.  “The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that His spirit shuddered before it. . . He must endure the wrath of God against transgression… Hitherto He had been as an intercessor for others, now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself.”  What a dreadful hour!  “Satan told Him that if He became surety for a sinful world, the separation would eternal. He would be identified with Satan’s kingdom, and would nevermore be one with God.  And what could be gained by this sacrifice?  How hopeless appeared the guilt and ingratitude of men! “

Oh what torture to the Son of God!  He possessed a divine nature that He could easily use to save Himself from this agony.  But in order for Him to save us, He must bear it all in His human nature!  Oh the mystery of godliness!

“Behold Him contemplating the price to be paid for the human soul.  In His agony He clings to the cold ground, as if to prevent Himself from being drawn farther from God. The chilling dew of night falls upon His prostrate form, but He heeds it not.  From His pale lips comes the bitter cry, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”  Yet even now He adds:  “Nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”

“The human heart longs for sympathy in suffering.  This longing Christ felt to the very depths of His being.”  But the disciples could offer no sympathy or comfort when He needed it most, even though He had always spoken words of sympathy for them.  They were sleeping while He was suffering superhuman agony. Blood actually dripped from the pores of His skin!  When His disciples awakened at the voice of Jesus, and saw His blood stained face, they were afraid.  They could hardly recognize Him, His face was so changed by anguish.

Now there is silence in heaven.  God is suffering with His Son.  All heaven is filled with grief.  No harp was played; no voice of singing and praise was heard.  I feel like faces were wet with tears all over heaven.  Angels longed to bring relief, but no, all they could do was stand and watch.  If we could see the sight that the angels saw that day, of God separating the beams of light, love and glory from His beloved Son, we would better understand how offensive in His sight is sin!  We would not keep sinning for sure! An angel comes from heaven to do the job that the disciples had failed to do.  Without this encouragement Jesus would have died right then.  But the angel takes his head in his lap and points to heaven telling Him about:  “The souls that would be saved as the result of His sufferings…He would see a multitude of the human race saved eternally saved.”

I believe at this moment when the cup trembled in our Saviour’s hand, Jesus saw my face!  He saw your face!  He knew how helpless we are and powerless to resist the devil.  He saw the horrid destruction that would come upon us.  “His decision is made.  He will save men at any cost to Himself…that through Him perishing millions may gain everlasting life!”

“Oh dear Jesus,” I cry.  “The GREATER YOUR LOVE THE GREATER YOUR REJOICING as I choose Your gift of Eternal Life purchased for me at such an infinite price!

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