And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:3 ESV)
Just yesterday, I was out with my dog Blu enjoying the inexplicable winter weather we all experience in the great state of Texas. A man approached me, and I knew from the long pause filled up by his disapproving stare that this was not a friendly approach. He looked to be in his thirties and he was wearing an intense running outfit, complete with long-legged spandex (this will be important later). He spoke with an Australian accent.
“You know, I just think it is selfish you would have a husky in Texas.”
My dog Blu is indeed a Siberian husky. I happen to know quite a bit about Siberian Huskies, after all, I own one. My brain immediately jumped to multiple facts I wanted to tell to him, explained to me by the breeder from whom I purchased Blu. She has bred huskies in Texas for over 50 years, including dogs in the movie Snowdogs and others that have completed the 1,100 mile Iditarod dogsled race.
I intended to launch into an explanation of the uniqueness of the two-layered husky coat that allows for insulation and keeps the dog both cool and hot. But you probably aren’t interested in detailed knowledge of the unique aspects of a husky’s coat. Neither was this man. As I began to respond he cut me off with a dismissive wave of his hand.
“I don’t want to hear your excuses, I just think its wrong!”
I am editing what he said slightly because his actual words should never appear in any devotional of any kind. He spat his words with such surprising anger he was already ten feet away from me by the time my brain thought of a response.
“Is that what you think?? I think yoga pants are for women. Nice outfit!”
I practically yelled at him. He did nothing to acknowledge that he had heard what I considered a witty, stinging retort. I spent the better part of an hour running back over the conversation in my head. I was so annoyed. Now, I am ashamed of the way I spoke to a total stranger, someone created in the image of God, just like me.
In Genesis, we read that God speaks light into existence. He speaks the whole universe into existence! Imagine what that might have looked like, what it would have sounded like! Think about hearing the actual words God spoke to create the heavens and the earth, the fish in the sea, and the birds in the sky. Think of the incredible power in God’s words, words that created everything in our universe out of nothing. John tells us more about God’s Word. He says:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3 ESV)
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 ESV)
Jesus Christ is the Word of God made into flesh; the walking, breathing, human representation of God. And He lived among us! He ate with us and drank with us, and taught us lessons formed inside His mind, a mind that holds the same power by which God spoke the universe into existence. Can you imagine what He knew? I blew up at a stranger because he did not understand the intricacies of a Siberian Husky’s coat the way I do. How much better must Jesus understand all that we lack? I received one word of criticism from this man, looked him up and down, and did my best to cut into him, and make him feel small, less than me, like he was an inferior human being.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:4-8 ESV)
How absurd, how earth-shaking, that, this Jesus, who embodies the very same power by which God created our universe, and everything in it, came down among us, and received criticism from us. He was mocked, and he was called a liar. He was scolded as to the meanings of the religious texts that came from the mouth of God, the same God he embodies! And that God is so very powerful! So how did Jesus respond? Out of infinite love, He taught and He guided, and He counseled His way to the cross, where He died the lowest death possible. Woe is me, that I can serve such a savior and yet not love every single person around me. But there is hope for me yet! God’s Spirit lives in me! And if you believe Jesus sacrificed Himself to save us from our sins then that Spirit is alive in you too. And that very Spirit is transforming us.
Here is a prayer to consider in closing: God forgive me for being a prideful sinner. Thank you for showing me love. Continue to make Your love known to me, broaden my understanding of it, fill me with it until I can’t help but share it! Even with angry strangers. Jesus You knew true human anger, You understood its evil more deeply than I could begin to comprehend, and You forgave it, and you died for it. Praise be to You, the Word made flesh, my loving Savior! Amen.