“Is that really everything?” I stared in amazement at the Toyota Highlander we had rented for our cross country trip to Iowa. Bins and duffel bags filled nearly every square inch of the once spacious SUV, leaving only a small space for Micah’s car seat. I was impressed we had managed to fit everything and yet quite sad, knowing the moment had come to say goodbye. Micah peered down into Tucker’s car seat and was met by a huge smile from his little cousin. Micah smiled back and yelled, “Bye Happy!!!” Once again Micah’s lighthearted sense of humor shone through and we all laughed. I embraced both of my sisters and wondered how long this goodbye would last. Tears slid down my sister’s face, and as I got into the vehicle and began pulling away, I saw her turn and begin to sob on my sister’s shoulder. That is when I lost it and the tears finally began to come down my cheeks. The lack of sleep, the packing, and all the goodbyes finally showed. “Neil” I said through the sobs, “why are we doing this? We need to remind ourselves why we are doing this.”
Philippians 2:5-8 came to my mind, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Since it was the Christmas season, the birth of baby Jesus had been on my mind, but it was in this moment of painful goodbye that the realization of what God had done dawned. God’s heart hurt so much to look on us, His very special creation, and to see the sin that so ruled in our hearts and in the world. But this sin problem did not perplex God or take him by surprise. Right after Adam and Eve made their fateful decision to obey the serpent rather than God, God made a promise to them. "Someday I will send a Savior from sin and He will crush the serpents head!" Years later, He sent His perfect Son, fully man and fully God, to the earth. Now we could see God in human form! He healed the sick and brought dead men to life again; he reached out to the poor and the weary. He broke down cultural barriers and healed the broken hearted. And then at God’s appointed time, we laid a cross against his bloodied and bruised back for the long walk through the angry crowds toward Calvary. On that hill, we drove cruel nails through his wrists and feet and into the wood, then leaned the cross up against the darkening sky. There, Christ tasted death for us- every man, women and child that has ever been born. During those agonizing hours on the cross, He took each person’s sin penalty upon Himself, then gave up His Spirit into the hands of His Father. In that moment his work on earth was accomplished. He had come to do his Father’s will, and he had completed it faithfully. That moment, when he cried out and breathed his last breath, the curtain in the temple separating us from the presence of God was torn in two. God provided a Way, we can now come to God through the work of His Son Jesus. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead and showed Himself too many people on earth to prove His victory over sin and death. The promise in Genesis had been fulfilled. Christ had crushed the serpents head!
I looked over at Neil, “this is why we are going.” Because there are those who still fear the serpent and live in bondage to Him. There are those who have no idea Christ came to bring freedom from the consequences of sin. As the SUV wound its way through the Palouse prairie and then slowly climbed its way up the pass into Montana, a peace and calm ruled within my heart. He is worth it. HE IS WORTH IT ALL.
Since then, we have arrived in Iowa and are enjoying a slower pace as we spend time with family. Christmas was a great time for us, and we all enjoyed watching Micah and his cousin play together. In four more days, we leave for Africa.
Genesis 3:15 b "It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
Hebrews 2:9 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."