He went to the cross thousands of years before I was born. But on that day, Jesus saw into the future, and knew me. He was thinking of me when He gave up His life to cure me of the disease of the mind and spirit that can only be cured through the transfusion of His Spirit into mine. He ripped the curtain in the temple in two, so that there is no more barrier between me and Him. I can now approach Him as freely as my own children can approach me. I can now talk to Him as a child to a Father without any fear, feeling completely safe, accepted, and loved. All this was made possible because He loved me far into the future. He thought of me and knew that someday, I would be born. And He waited. Patiently he waited. Through all the time that I was searching everywhere else for love and a place to belong, He waited. He saw me through time, knew what it would cost for our relationship, and He willingly paid the price. He gave up His life, enduring the worst that humanity, His own creation, threw at Him, so He and I can be connected spirit to spirit as we are today. I am forever thankful that He had me on His mind when He was on that cross.
WHEN HE WAS ON THE CROSS I WAS ON HIS MIND
by: Ronny Hinson and Mike Payne
I’m not on an ego trip, I’m nothing on my own,
I make mistakes; I often slip; I’m just common flesh and bone.
But I’ll prove someday, just why I say that I’m of a special kind,
For when He was on the cross, I was on His mind.
The look of love was on His face, and thorns were on His head,
Blood was on His scarlet robe, it stained with crimson red.
Though His eyes were on the crowd that day, He looked ahead in time.
For when He was on that cross, you see, I was on His mind.
He knew me, yet He loved me,
He whose glory makes the heavens shine.
So unworthy of such mercy,
Yet when He was on the cross, I was on His mind,
When He was on the cross, I was on His mind.
And so He came. . . The Creator taking the form of His creation. . .Becoming one of us. . .Living among us. . . Experiencing our pain, joy, sorrow, despair. . .Relating face-to-face with us. . . Giving us His all. . . Becoming vulnerable to our wrath in order to demonstrate that He had no wrath toward us and that we’ve been forgiven long before He came.
Humbly He came, as a baby born in a lowly stable, to show us how to live, how to love, and how to have heaven in our hearts at all times. He came to love us in all of our messes, then showed us a better and higher way to love ourselves and others. His love is the transforming kind of love, the kind that makes you content in being just the way you are, and at same time encourages you to be much more than you thought you could ever be.
That’s what Christmas is all about to me, God becoming man to show me the truth about Himself and me. Love coming to the beloved, telling me I am precious and valued beyond measure. I have been touched by this love and have forever been changed. This is why I celebrate Christmas.
There’s a poem called “The Difference.” It’s one of those poems written by unknown authors that became popular back in the 1980’s. I had this poem hung on the wall of my dorm room back when I was a student at UCLA, and it’s been on a wall in every home we’ve lived in, until today. I just took it down, because it no longer resonates as true in my current relationship with my Father. I’d had it up there for so long, I’d forgotten about it. But today’s thought reminds me of this poem and how much I disagree with it now, so I’m removing it.
The gist of the poem is that when I get up in the morning, I need to pray first, otherwise I would have a horrible day and feel distant from God. There was a time when I would have believed this was true, and I even hung this poem on the wall to remind me to pray each morning. There was a time when I felt distant from God and would try to figure out what I did or didn’t do to cause God to withdraw Himself from me; a time when I thought that God would allow bad things to happen to me because I forgot to pray for His protection. And I even believed that if I didn’t pray first thing in the morning, then I didn’t “put God first in my life,” and deserved whatever bad things that happened.
The ironic thing is, no matter how many prayers I said back then, I still felt distant from God, and bad things still happened to me. So I still constantly wondered if I’d prayed the right things or stated my requests correctly (you know with humility and all) to please God. When bad things still happened when I’d prayed, I’d feel like I must have failed to do it right somehow, or just didn’t pray long enough, or whatever.
The reverse was also true. Sometimes good things happened when I didn’t pray at all! Sometimes I get things I never even thought to ask for, or things I purposely didn’t ask because I thought God would think it’s frivolous. And many times I get things that I didn’t know I needed until the moment, so never had a chance to pray for it. Many times I’d seen His hands intervening in situations throughout the day eventhough I’d forgotten to pray that morning.
Hmmm. . . So praying did not prevent bad things from happening, and not praying still resulted in God blessing me with things I didn’t ask for. So what did all that mean? Does it mean prayers are ineffective? No. Not at all. I know miracles can happen when believers pray, and I have witnessed many such miracles in my own life as well as friends’. But it does mean that God doesn’t need to wait around for us to say just the right thing to intervene on our behalf or to bless our socks off! He will do whatever He’d like, whenever He’d like. After all, He IS God.
I think the real difference on how my day goes is not based on whether or not I pray in the morning, but on how much I allow the reality of His love for me to permeate my being and thinking. The difference is in how I percieve God the Father. I used to see Him like a big CEO and taskmaster, a distant God who needs to have things done just-so for His approval, so I was concerned about praying just right everyday to earn His approval. Now I see Him as a loving Daddy who smiles at me the moment I wake up and gives me a big “Good Morning” hug. I don’t need to recite any mantra to get His attention, nor do I really need to ask for anything that I need. He will provide the things I need each day as I need them, in the same way I provide for my children without waiting for them to ask me in just the right way. No, actually, because He’s perfect and all powerful, He can provide for me even better than I can ever do for my children. Today, I see God as a Daddy who’s very fond of me and can’t wait for me to wake up each day so we can spend some time together.
So how do I explain when bad things happen now? Well, it just happens. It rains on the righteous as well as on the wicked. This is a fallen world we live in. There is sickness. There are people who steal, cheat, and lie, and they do this to everybody alike. There are people who will treat you unkindly, because they themselves don’t know love. So bad things will happen, and not all my days will be good days. It’s simply a statistical fact.
When bad things happen, I no longer feel left alone to figure out what I did or didn’t do to cause them to happen; instead, I can feel my Daddy right there beside me, and I can hear Him telling me it will be alright, that He is big enough to handle any problem that comes my way. Now THAT is a real difference indeed!
Sure, I still pray, but it’s now more like an ongoing conversation with my Daddy throughout the day, not a religious ritual in the morning to get a distant God’s attention or ask Him to make my day go well. My day will go as it will, and I will be just fine at the end of each day, because my Daddy is always with me. And He can make the best lemonade out of any lemons that life can bring!