This is a guest post from Yvonne, one of my oldest and dearest friends. An Evangelical Christian, Yvonne has taught me more about love, patience and fighting the good fight than anyone else. When she is not putting up with me, she works as a biologist, reads old-fashioned mystery novels and goes on adventures. She is awesome like that. I hope you are as moved by this beautiful and profound reflection as I am.
Today I read about a Japanese man, Mikio Okada, who died to save his only daughter. The pair had been stuck in a blizzard and they decided to leave their vehicle and make the rest of their way on foot. They only made it 300 metres. The next morning the girl was found in her father’s jacket, wrapped tightly in his arms. Her father was dead. He had given himself up for her sake.
I, reading this in my office, almost 12,000km away from Yubetsu, wanted to cry. I could not even begin to imagine the immense grief his daughter must be going through right now.
I was, and still am, struck by how much this father loved his daughter. That he would give his life up for her to live. I cannot begin to image how his daughter will respond. How her life will be lived in light of this.
As I grieve with this child about her father’s sacrifice, I am reminded about the sacrifice Christ made for His people. I wonder if the Japanese man would have sacrificed himself for another person’s child. I wonder if he would sacrifice himself to save people who would never be able, nor want, to reciprocate this gift. I wonder if he would sacrifice himself to save people who hated him and rejoiced in his suffering and death.
Even more so, I wonder if the Japanese man would give daughter up to save the life of another child. I wonder if he would sacrifice his daughter to save the life of people who would never be able, nor want to, reciprocate this gift. I wonder if he would sacrifice his daughter to people who hated him and hated her. I wonder if any person would.
And yet one man did. He sacrificed himself for people who mocked him. He died for people who ran away when things got tough. He died for people who actively persecuted him. He died for people who didn’t care for him. He even died for people who didn’t bother to find out who he was. He died to save these people from eternal death and suffering. He died for people like you and me. He died for you. He died for me.
His name was Jesus and His Father gave Him up.
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person — though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:7-8)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)