"And I pray that you ... grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." Ephesians 3:17b-18 (NIV)
When my middle son was 2 years old, he went through various stages that almost sent me to the mad house.
One of the most irritating stages was his habit of taking off his diaper after putting him to bed. Many late nights we would have to put on a fresh diaper, change his sheets and put him back to bed.
After awhile, we wised up. We started putting him into all-in-one pajamas that made it not so easy for him to accomplish his little feat.
That pretty much solved the problem.
Until one night, when my husband put the boys (ages 2 and 4) to bed. Unfortunately, he forgot about our precautionary measure of locking our toddler into his diaper.
Before long, our eldest son shouted at the top of his lungs, "Mommy! It stinks in here! Somebody needs his diaper changed!"
No worries. It happens, right?
Soon we heard urgency in our eldest son's voice as he called out again, "MOMMY! COME QUICK! THERE'S A STINKY MESS IN HERE!"
We entered their room. The smell that greeted me at the door was enough to make me want to run for my life.
Friends, we are talking yuck e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e ... on the sheets, blankets, feet and smudged into the carpet. So that night, while many other mothers slept peacefully in their beds, guess what I was doing?
Cleaning up a mess.
At almost midnight and for close to an hour, I was on my hands and knees cleaning and scrubbing. I'll spare you the gory details.
Believe it or not, the carpet today looks like nothing ever happened. Between my cleaning concoctions that fateful night and a borrowed steam cleaner the next day, I managed to handle the situation like a pro.
Of course I did. I'm a mom. That's what moms do. We clean up after our children when necessary, because that's what love does.
There is a lesson to be learned from the middle of this messy situation ...
My son didn't mean to make a mess. He didn't intentionally deprive me of sleep or aim to make me uncomfortable. He didn't mean to make me suffer for his transgression.
But I did.
And why? Because that's what love does.
Even when he wasn't showing me much love, I loved him anyway. And I showed my love by cleaning up a mess that I didn't make.
My dear sister... don't you know Jesus loves us this same way?
He saw us in our mess. He cleaned up after us. He was willing to suffer for our transgressions. And even when we aren't showing Him much love, He loved us first and continues to love us anyway.
Because that's what love does.
I believe with all my heart that as my son matures, he will be grateful and appreciate my sacrifices. I pray that eventually he will come to understand the width, length, height and depth of the love I have for him. Just like God's love for us, Paul prayed that the church at Ephesus "may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ" (Ephesians 3:18).
In the same way, as we mature in our relationship with God and develop a greater understanding of why we needed His rescue, we can appreciate more and more His huge sacrifice.
Here's the kicker – our lives, actions and attitudes should show it.
Just like mothers find a way to do what seems
... or insurmountable ...
so, too, our precious Savior found a way to rescue us from our plight.
And I'm so thankful. Aren't you?
Dear Lord, thank You for being willing to clean up my mess. Sometimes I'm a little bit of a mess. Other times, I'm a big mess and the yuckiness in my attitude or actions greatly impacts others. Yet You still love me. You loved me enough not only to clean up after me, but also to suffer on my behalf. I want You to know I'm grateful. Help me to walk worthy of the love that You have so lavishly offered me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Ephesians 4:1b, "I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." (NIV)
Ephesians 3:19, "I ask that you'll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God." (CEB)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
At some point and time we have all been a mess. If we're honest with ourselves, we still are! How does the fact that God loves you anyway make you feel?
In light of God's great sacrifice for you, what is one thing you can do today that would show your appreciation for His great gift?
© 2014 by Chrystal Evans Hurst. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105