But as I go along in life, sometimes a verse jumps out at me in a new way that makes me feel a connection. Yesterday, I lit upon that very first memorized verse from Vacation Bible School: "For God so loved the world that he gave his son." For the very first time, I thought about this verse not from the perspective of the son or of the world, but from the perspective of the parent.
I thought, there is nothing that I could love enough that I would willingly send Paul to his certain death.
And then I thought, but what do all parents do except send their children to the world? We don't keep them wrapped up with us forever. Here I am, an adult, in a home of my own, in a town of my own. My parents gave me to the world many years ago, with no assurance that it would all turn out all right or that it will turn out right.
So much of my life is devoted to helping my children learn the skills they need to find their way in the world. Can they do laundry? Can they talk to a love interest openly and honestly? Can they do their best to protect themselves and those around them? Even from the very moment of birth, I have been learning to give them to the world: helping them learn to eat; helping them struggle to sleep; giving them support to lift their heads without breaking.
Although I can hope beyond hope that when my children leave home, their paths will not lead to certain sacrifice as Jesus's path did, I suddenly feel more of an affinity with this God. I can see God as another parent, ardently hoping and watching, sometimes leaping with joy, and sometimes collapsing with heartbreak as our children make their way. I could sit down to coffee with that God and break bread and hearts together.