Preparing our church choir Sunday morning (4/13) to sing the classic, “The Day He Wore My Crown,” I read to them a quote from one of my favorite books: John MacArthur’s “God With Us.”
One of the best, most succinct theological descriptions of Jesus’ death I’ve read, I’ve cited it dozens of times throughout my years of Student Ministry, and subsequent Adult Ministry, when teaching on the death of Jesus.
But this time would be different. Miraculously different.
As I was reading the quote to our Choir, I stopped in mid-sentence and tears filled me eyes. My mind was racing. My heart rate increased. I was on holy ground.
Psychologists call suicide-related grief “complicated grief” because of the mountain of questions for which we’ll never have answers, longing to have been there to save him, the guilt, the rage, knowing that your baby (he was 19) was suffering – to the point of death – and you weren’t there. For the first 8 months after Jordan’s death, my mind worked non-stop to try and “undo” that day. I almost went insane. More than once, early on, Michelle (my wife) & I screamed at God, “Where were you that day!!”
Back to this morning, and the quote I read to our Choir. Here it is:
“Think for a moment about how Jesus died. It was not an easy, gentle passing from this world. It was excruciating agony and torture of the worst kind, for it was on a cross. He SUFFERED in His death. He drank the bitter cup at Calvary in its fullness – He drained it to the last drop. He experienced all the PAIN, all the LONELINESS, all the TORMENTS that have ever been associated with death. All of this is behind the statement, “Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) The death Christ tasted was the penalty for our sin. He received the full force of all that the devil could throw at Him. But, more than that (far more), He received the full expression of God’s wrath over sin.” John MacArthur, “God With Us”
This morning, as I was reading this to our Choir, when I came to the words that I capitalized – “suffering, pain, loneliness, torment” – it occurred to me those were the exact same feelings that Jordan felt moments before taking his life. Almost simultaneously, it occurred to me that I had my answer to my question: “Where were You!” Jesus said, “I was there, with Jordan. Holding Jordan. IN his suffering, IN his pain, IN his loneliness, and IN his torment. And, because I absorbed ALL of that mess on the cross twenty centuries ago, Jordan is free now. With Me. In Paradise.”
What a morning. All I could think was, “Hallelujah.” As we prayed before filing into the Worship Center, I said, “God, thank You for revealing this to me! Thank You….thank You….”
And, by the way, it wasn’t until I got home after church that I realized the date. It was April 13th – 11 months to the day since Jordan walked into Paradise.
Soli Deo Gloria, nw