Sunday, November 27, 2005

Memorial Stone #2 - Screams

It was the summer of 1979 and I would soon be entering fourth grade (to save you the math, I turned 36 earlier this month). It was my first time at church camp and I was having a blast. It was so much fun to be "roughing it" in a cabin with other kids my age. There were all kinds of fun activities during the day and then a chapel service each evening after dinner. One night during the service, my eyes were opened to what this church thing and seeking God was all about. I had memorized John 3:16, but there is a big difference between head knowledge and believing something in your heart. The speaker told the following story:

One night a drawbridge operator had taken his son to work with him. A passenger ship was approaching and the bridge needed to be lifted. Horrified, he noticed that his son was playing on the gears of the bridge. There was no time to run down and grab his son before the boat arrived. He desperately tried to get his attention, but to no avail. The man knew that the closed bridge would certainly damage the ship enough that it would sink and many would die. He closed his eyes and pulled the lever that opened the bridge. His heart broke and tears streamed down his face as he heard the screams from his only son as the boy's small body was crushed between the gears. The screaming stopped, the bridge was up, and the ship passed through. As it passed, the man saw passengers laughing and telling stories, completely unaware of the sacrifice that had been made for them.

That story lit me up inside. The Bible verses I had memorized seemed to come to life. I understood why people went to church to learn more about this God that loves us so much that He gave His only Son in order that we may have life. The speaker gave an altar call for those that wanted to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and I responded. As soon as I finished the sinner's prayer I felt an overwhelming warmth all over me. It was cleansing and comforting. It was as though I had been asleep (in reality, spiritually dead) all my life and had just awakened to the most beautiful sunrise one could imagine. I was a new creation. I had been born again. The next morning I got up before everyone else and took a walk. I was still me, but I just had a knowing that this was not some passing fascination, but rather the start of a lifelong relationship.

May we never, ever, ever forget the anguish our heavenly Father must have went through as Jesus was sacrificed for us and the Father had to turn away. I am sure He still heard the whip on Jesus' back, the hammer on the nails, and the screams.


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