I recently took my family to visit the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. With my sons in hand, we gazed on battle scenes and war memorabilia. The boys were keenly interested in the old guns, tanks and planes.
“Look at this one, Daddy! Wow, I’d like to fly that one!”
I enjoyed their enthusiasm for the sights, since the War Memorial was a favorite of my childhood, too. Yet now as a father, I was sobered by what they were unable to see: the human cost of war. Old photos show parents watching their children—barely adults—board troop ships en route to faraway places. Teary mothers embrace their sons for the last time. A father quietly mourns over the coffin of a soldier—his boy.
How would it feel to see your own son leave home to sacrifice his life—to see a lifetime of nurture and memories suddenly severed?
God gives us a glimpse of the infinite cost of sending his Son to die, when we see their loving relationship. God announced, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased….” Jesus testified that “the Father loves me” and that the Father loved him “before the foundation of the world.” God extended his love to our fallen world. We know the Father so loved the world that he gave his only Son. We must also remember Jesus was not only sent by the Father, he offered himself willingly. Jesus “loved us and gave himself up for us” (Matthew 17:5, John 10:17, John 17:24, Ephesians 5:2).
Together, God’s love and Jesus’ willingness show the amazing grace of the gospel. While parents never intend for their children to die at war, they lost their sons out of duty. God sent his only Son because of love. Jesus came willingly because of love.
I cannot imagine losing my sons to war—and yet, Christ makes a greater demand: he demands my life. My heart, my plans, my things, and my family must all be given up to his will. Losing is hard. Even so, Jesus’ love and obedience are at work to fill up my life, because he secured me with his sacrifice. Without Jesus, my old life is not worth keeping. I can stop relying on it, when I instead rely on him—the one who loves me and gave himself for me.
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That he should give his only Son
To make a wretch his treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns his face away
As wounds which mar the chosen one,
Bring many sons to glory.