When my oldest son turned 18, I came face to face with my own hypocrisy and irrationality. It was time for him to register for Selective Service and suddenly, that thing that I had always rationally understood as not-the-draft and nothing-to-be-concerned-about, irrationally became an injustice of gigantic proportions.
My mama bear gut reflex came out in a full-on emotional crisis. Suddenly, I felt as if my rights and my son’s rights were being assaulted. How dare “they” even think about ripping him out of his life to serve in the military against his will!
Now, I know that this isn’t what’s happening at all. Registering for Selective Service isn’t the draft. We have a strong professional military in our country that doesn’t need to rely on forced participation to keep us safe and protected. I knew that then too. In my head. But my heart felt very differently at that surprisingly emotional time. Suddenly, I felt like I had skin in the game. In my heart, it felt like the government was trying to force me to give my pound of flesh but it was actually well over a hundred pounds of flesh which contained my handsome blue-eyed precious 18 year-old “baby.”
And then I realized, this is what sacrifice is really all about, isn’t it? It’s not about giving from our excess. It’s about giving from our heart. Sometimes, until it hurts. And there are lots of families over the years that have made the ultimate sacrifice of their sons and daughters through active and often voluntary military service. Here I was, not willing to even sacrifice in theory and there are so many that lean into the sacrifice of military service in reality each and every day. To say that I was humbled is an understatement. And then I thought about God and His Son … another wave of humility hit me.
Without a certain Sacrifice of gigantic proportions, we wouldn’t have eternal life. God sacrificed His own innocent son for us; sinful, imperfect us. Out of love. It’s because of this sacrifice that we know of His love as well as of His mercy and forgiveness.
This experience taught me so much about myself and about God. It helped me see where I need to do some spiritual work. I am sinful and selfish and sometimes, I’m just awful. I’m not God (obviously). I’m not Love. I’m not Goodness. But, I understand a little better the depth of God’s love and the depth of His sacrifice for us now in part because I see how great He is in comparison to me. And that’s what makes His Love so amazing. It’s too good for us. Yet, He gives it to us freely.
I know I’ll never be God. But I strive to be more like him throughout my life. But, I can only do that with His Divine Assistance. If you need His help like I do, join me in prayer.
Dear Father in heaven, help me to love so deeply that I don’t count the cost. Help me to stop weighing my “pound of flesh” and instead give all to you because of my love for you. And please bless greatly all of those who give without thinking. Help me to be more like them. Amen.
Copyright 2019 Laura B. Nelson