There is an ancient legend about two warring tribes in the Andes, one that lived in the lowlands and the other high in the mountains. The mountain people invaded the lowlanders one day and, as part of their plundering of the people, they kidnapped the baby of one of the lowlander families and took the infant with them up into the mountains.
The lowlanders didn’t know how to climb the mountains. They didn’t know any of the trails the mountain people used. Consequently, they were unable to track the mountain people in steep terrain.
Nevertheless, they sent out their best party of fighting men to try to climb the mountain and rescue the baby.
The party of lowlanders tried one trail, and then another. They tried one method of climbing, and then another.
After several days of futile efforts, they had made little progress. Feeling helpless and hopeless the lowlander men decided that the cause was lost, and they prepared to return to their villages below.
As they were packing their gear for the descent, they saw the baby’s mother walking toward them. They realized that she was coming down the mountain that they themselves were unable to climb.
And then they saw that she had her baby strapped to her back. How could that be?
One man greeted her and said, “We couldn’t climb this mountain. How did you do this when we, the strongest and most able men in the village, could not?”
She shrugged her shoulders and said, “It wasn’t your baby!”
This story is an excellent demonstration of the power of a mother’s love. But also this serves as a beautiful illustration for the wonder of the Father’s love for His own children.
No matter how great the compassion for someone who is lost, or how deep the friendship for the kidnapped one may be, or even how philanthropic the spirit of the search party members, there is not the compulsion or the drive to discover a way to retrieve that lost child like there is for a parent.
The love of that mother for her baby is not unlike the love of a heavenly Father for His children. It is indescribable, yet unending and undefeatable!
For those who are followers of God through Christ, there is a never-ending and awe-inspiring love that our Father has for us. When we were lost, He spared no expense to bring about our rescue. And He did it through His Son. That’s the love of a Father for His children!
But you may be saying, “That’s crazy – I would not give up my only son so that someone else could live!”
And while I agree with you that such a thought seems crazy on the surface, that is exactly the way God has dealt with you! He sent His own Son on a rescue mission to bring you and me back alive! And what seems crazy to you and to me is very reasonable to God, because His love for each of us is so much greater than we could ever imagine!
I know for me this issue comes about whenever I hear of someone notoriously evil coming to faith in Christ – a Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy or some other noted criminal. How could God go on a search and rescue mission for them? Oftentimes I will pray that very question, asking God why?
And His response is always the same: “It’s not okay for me to love them? I loved you, didn’t I? How crazy is that?”
And you know, He is right. It is just as much an anomaly for Him to love me enough to die for my sins as it is for Him to love a serial killer or mass murderer enough to die for their sins as well.
And when I ask Him how He ever found the way in His heart to do that, when men and women the world over hate these individuals, He simply shrugs His shoulders and says, “It’s not your baby!”
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
God bless …
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.