There I’ll Be
I read a story that came from the pioneer west period of American history. In that day, scarlet fever was a killer. Plagues of it would wipe out sections of the population of towns where it would strike. The story involved a young mother whose little daughter came down with the deadly contagious disease. The doctor warned the mother against physical contact with her daughter. “Try to keep a safe distance,” he warned. But what the very sick little girl requested most often was one of her beloved mother’s kisses which she was used to receiving so often. Now you tell me, mother, what would you do? You know what you would do. You would do what that young mother did. She kissed her daughter profusely…offering her all the comfort and love she could. In the process she gave her own life as she followed her daughter in death. That’s the power of love. What can we do but marvel at it?
When King David was fleeing the murderous designs of his own son, Absalom, Ittai, one of his foreign servants wanted to go with him. But David did not wish for the man to endure the hardships to come. He wanted to give him a pass. But Ittai wouldn’t hear of it. Here’s what he said, “As Jehovah lives, and as my lord the king lives surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether for death or for life, even there also will your servant be.” His love for David wouldn’t allow him to go home to comfort and safety while his king was fleeing from place to place for his life. He would be found wherever his king was…alive or dead. That’s the loyalty of love.
Another king…King Jesus…saw from eternity the plight of humanity. He couldn’t stay away. Why? Because of love. He saw the deadly trouble we were in…which we deserved because of our own sins…and He came to stand by our side…to not be ashamed of us…to go to the Cross for us. “Jesus and the people He makes holy all belong to the same family. That is why He isn’t ashamed to call them His brothers and sisters.” (Hebrews 2:11) If we were flesh and blood, well then, He would become the same. And He did! He did it so that He could die. He did it to defeat the Devil. He did it to defeat death. He did it because He loves this world so. He loves you. He loves me. The choice was made. It was made by love.
You see, the truth about love is that it can’t be comfortable while the beloved is uncomfortable. Love can’t be at peace while the beloved is in trouble. Love can’t relax while the beloved hurts. Love can’t get off its knees while the beloved continues risking their soul. Love can’t sit inside in the recliner watching TV while the beloved is in the far country. Love will be outside scanning the horizon and longing for the homecoming. Love can’t stonewall while the beloved is stumbling home weary. Love runs to embrace and kiss the beloved. Love can’t party, until the beloved comes home. But then, my, what a party ensues. And love will not permit the resentment and bitterness of an older brother to ruin the celebration. Love extends the same party invitation to the sinner who stayed home as to the sinner who left home.
The love of Christ leaves us no choice, really. He decided that where we were, He would be. We were in the dark, alone and the stench of death was about us. He came to us offering light, life and Himself. He is the reason we can’t stand by and leave others in their pain. Wherever they are…lost and alone…there we will be. Whatever the cost. Love can make no other choice.