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									The Second Word: Today you will be with me in Paradise.

Rebekah Powell

As I thought about what to say today I was nervous but a very smart man I know said to

pray and think about the words and talk about what they mean to me, so that is what I

have done.

These words “Today you shall be with me in paradise”, to me, reflect God’s promise to

each and everyone of us of salvation if we turn to him. They show God’s love for us, for

all of us, not mater what we have done as long as we ask for forgiveness and turn to him.

This promise of love is a great comfort to me and a source of great discomfort. God loves

me equally to anyone else just as Jesus loved the murderer who was crucified with him.

But how can that be so, surely God must love me more than he loves a murderer. Surely

God must love me better than he loves a cheat or a liar. But as I understand it, God loves

us all equally. This is a very difficult concept for me to accept as a human because I don’t

love people equally, I can’t. There is a minutia of experience that affects the way I love the

people in my life. I love them in different ways and to different degrees but God doesn’t,

he loves his children equally.

My struggle with this proposition is close to my heart. I struggle with the fact that God

loves a particular person in my life the same as he loves me. I struggle because this person

has caused a tremendous amount of hurt and, in my mind, has turned away from God.

How can God love him the same as God loves me? It doesn’t seem right and it certainly

doesn’t seem fair.

But what I forget are two things:

1. we’re not talking about human love

2. it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t have other feelings

First, God showed his love to us by sending us his son as a sacrifice, this is beyond any

kind of human love. Jesus showed us his form of love and we all struggle, everyday, to

even come close to his example. More often when I think of what Jesus would have done

it is the opposite of what I want to do.

God’s love can’t be compared to our human experience of love.

Second, the fact God loves us equally does not mean that God doesn’t have other feelings.

God is hurt when we break his laws, when we hurt each other. God is disappointed when

we are selfish and when we turn away from him, when we turn to the world, when we set

our moral compass on a path to wealth and greed.

But because God isn’t human, God can see past these feelings and love each of us equally.

I think back in my own life to when I turned away from God, when I chose an indulgent

path, when I rejected his teachings in order to please myself. I imagine God was hurt, was

disappointed but God did not stop loving me, in fact, he loved me just as much as he loved

my friends who went to Church, who embraced their faith and who obeyed his word

because he was waiting for me to come back to him. That is why he loves this person as

much as he loves me because he is waiting for him to come back to God.

This is why God’s love is so amazing, he can do what I can’t, which is to put aside the

hurt, the disappointment and simply love us equally.

So when I think of the words “Today you will be with me in paradise” I think of God’s love

and I think of a time and place when I will be able to love like God does, when I will be

able to look at people without the trappings of success, wealth, knowledge, poverty and all

the other facets of human existence, of the ability that I will have, given by God, to see

each person as a child of God and love them equally.          To put aside the hurts, the

disappointment, and prejudice and to fully embrace that which I can’t understand while on

earth but that which, through Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross and God’s salvation, I will be

able to embrace, understand and live when I am in Paradise.

This is an amazing promise from God. This is the Greatest gift.

I thought I would close with some words form one of my favourite songs that captures what

I think about when I think about being in paradise with Jesus.

I long to be where the praise is never ending

Yearn to dwell where the glory never fades

Where countless worshippers will share one song

And cries of “worthy” will honour the Lamb

Beautiful Saviour, Wonderful Counsellor

Clothed in Majesty, Lord of History

You’re the Way, the Truth, the Life

Star of the Morning, glorious in holiness

You’re the Risen One, Heaven’s Champion

And you Reign, you Reign over all.


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