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"He has my taser!" That's all I heard. In the middle of a dead silent graveyard shift manning the 911 dispatch console, out of the blue I hear my patrol sergeant's scream across the radio "he has my taser!". That's it. That's all he said. He was in violation of about every safety protocol we have in place to protect our officers in the field. I didn't know where he was, I didn't know what he was doing, he didn't check out at any recent locations, and we didn't have GPS in our officers patrol cars yet. My only hope of sending backup to him was to find out where he is at IF at this dire point I was able to get anything out of him at all. Immediately I catapult forward in my chair and key up my microphone........only to choke on a bite of a Hershey's bar I took just before this plea for help came across the air. And this wasn't the type of choking where you can cough, this was an airway completely blocked can't breath even a little kind of choking. Knowing time was of the essence for my officer I tried to speak as fast as I could.. apparently too fast, and now I can't breath. Not only that, but I have an officer whose need for me hasn't diminished and I can't talk to him either..or anyone. This was a horrible horrible feeling. Never have I felt that type of terror in my life, as much as I wanted to help the officer, my present panic took over and my terror and my focus became consumed with the fact I couldn't breath at all, and having answered many 911 calls where people were choking, I knew how short my time was.


Did you know it's been over a decade since that happened and to this day I take small bites of..everything. Fortunately chocolate melts and it was a very long minute before it melted enough where I could begin wheezing desperately and about that same time my officer radioed that he regained control of the situation. That however was quite a traumatic experience for me in every sense of the word. To this day I have a fear of choking. Partly because of what it did to me, and maybe in part because of how it rendered me helpless when an officer needed me the most. It was a big ball of feelings I never want to face again, horrible feelings, feelings I hadn't felt prior and feelings I haven't felt since...until recently.


My wife and I were having a wonderful steak dinner that she barbecued up for the two of us. She makes amazing dinners. Not only does she make great dinners, but we often have great conversation at the dinner table over her delicious dishes and it's a time I quite look forward to every day. Interesting fact: did you know that 90% percent of the people who choke do so on steak? I remember reading that when I was going through first aid training. Well half way through our steak meal our conversation got to a sensitive subject regarding some hurt we went through with some family members, this particular subject is quite a painful one for us both, often our hearts are force to face new grief with it on a regular basis. It just so happened that in this moment of processing my wife unfortunately just took a bite of steak before being provoked to speak on the matter.


In the heat of her expression, much like my attempt to respond at once to my officer in need, she choked on her bite. And not the kind where you can still cough, but the bad kind.. the block your airway kind. She attempted to take a drink of water but the water had no where to go so it spewed back up. I knew what had happened even before she could use her last bit of breath to murmur "choking" as her panic set in and she half tilted over the dinner table. I knew the look, I knew she was choking before she said anything as I am in tune with my wife. I was already dialing 911 and standing up to get in position to attempt the Heimlich maneuver. I've only walked people through it before on 911 calls, I never did one myself. Plus it had been awhile since I worked there; did I still know how? Did I ever know how? I had always had a flip chart (called Powerphone) next to me that guided me with those on 911. Now not only did I not have that, this was my wife, my precious wife, my very very very precious wife who was now choking.


My very composed wife lost her composure, her actions and face made her panic clear. Helpless and desperate she was, and as one who had experienced that and knew those feelings well, my heart sank like it never had before.


One thing I did remember from my flip chart that I often had to rebuke 911 callers with is, if a person can breath at all, even the littlest bit, you DON'T DO ANYTHING. Intervention at this point could make things fatally worse and fortunately my wife had a very slight wheeze. If it weren't for the fact you could hear a pin drop I wouldn't have heard it. So with 911 dialed I stood very close by her...and did nothing. Ugh!


This I think is my least favorite time I've ever been a part of..ever. Worst than myself choking was watching my bride choking whom I love more than myself. If I could have traded her spots in that moment I would have in a heartbeat, without hesitation, and without regret. I would rather choke 100 times than have her go through it once. I mean that with all of my being. Fortunately she worked it through her system...slowly, and afterwards as we sat at the table with her plate half full of water she spit up, both of us reeling from what just happened, I knew I would do anything and I mean anything to keep her from ever having to go through that again. It truly was unbearable. We didn't have steak again for some time. Seeing her suffer, her panic, her in worst than anything I've ever been through and I've been through some very gnarly stuff. But that's just it. There's no amount of pain you could put on me that would ever equal how much it hurt me to see her suffer. I don't care what morbid torture you could conjure up..if me taking it on means she is spared I will choose to take it every single time and as many times as needed.


This brings me to my key verse for this article out of Hebrews:


looking only at Jesus, the originator and perfecter of the faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:2 (emphasis mine).


What do you suppose the joy is here? Do you think it's the fun of being crucified? That seems ridiculous. The story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-44) should make it clear that this event was not one He was looking forward to.


And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” - Matthew 26:39


If you were to ask me if I would ever volunteer to choke again I would say absolutely not. That was a horrific thing to go through. I wouldn't do it for a billion dollars, I wouldn't do it for anything. Or at least that's what I thought until my bride whom I love so much had to endure it. If you asked me if I would take her place in those moments of despair, absolutely. If it were possible to substitute me for her in that moment I would have gladly done it without question.


Sitting at that table with my wife post-choking as I rub her arm and we sit silently I learned a little about the heart of God. And I have to share because it's beautiful.


Jesus in the garden had His eyes on what was to come and it riddled Him with anxiety, even to the point of sweating blood. The Physician Luke records it this way:


And being in agony, He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. - Luke 22:44


Jesus nowhere else in scripture goes through anything like this and we know He endured much and often He was troubled many times but never put in this level of agony. Jesus right now in the garden knows what's coming and for a season His eyes are on it and it has Him beside Himself. Philippians 2:8 references Christ enduring the cross to stress the faithful obedience of Jesus and rightfully so. In this moment Jesus the man was going to endure that which is so bad that they had to invent the word "excruciating" to describe it as previously no word could be found to properly depict the pain and agony Jesus went through on the cross.


Did you know that Jesus was never forced to be crucified? This was entirely on His own volition. The Father gave Him full authority to lay His life down on His own accord (John 10:18). In fact, when Peter tried to stop them from taking Jesus away to be crucified Jesus told Peter to put his sword away and that Jesus at any moment could make an appeal to the Father and immediately at His disposal would be twelve legions of angels (Matt. 26:53).


I can't imagine a harder battle. Jesus had full authority to lay His life down...or to not. To endure the cross...or not too. And Jesus would have been fully justified not too. Considering the agony in the garden, what would possibly compel Jesus to keep on going?


Answer: The overriding love of God.


Jesus eyes went from what He would endure, to what you would endure if He didn't and that for Him..was an unbearable thought. Unbearable for Him and likewise the Father. Isaiah gives us some insight into this as well.


Yet the Lord was willing
To crush Him, causing Him to suffer;
If He would give Himself as a guilt offering [an atonement for sin],
He shall see His [spiritual] offspring,
He shall prolong His days,
And the will (good pleasure) of the Lord shall succeed and prosper in His hand. - Isaiah 53:10 (AMP)


What on earth would compel a Father to crush His only begotten, how is it the Father's will to "crush Him", and cause "Him to suffer"? Surely God isn't sadistic in that He would enjoy bruising His Son is He? Absurd. It was not pleasing to God to crush Jesus anymore than it was pleasing to the Lord to march off to the cross. But both Hebrews 12:2 and Isaiah 53:10 have this one thing in common that motivated and activated the overriding love of God.




You are the joy set before Jesus. And God's pleasure to crush Jesus wasn't that He derived pleasure from the action of doing so but rather He was pleased at what it would accomplish. That God would "see His offspring". He did this with you in mind.


God the Father and God the Son share a heart as they are one and the same (John 14:9, Heb. 1:3). Jesus eyes shifted from the cup He was to bear to what would result from Him bearing the cup. This transformed Jesus from one in agony to one who found joy...even with nails through his hands and feet, unable to breath and bleeding. Why? Because as long as He was up there, you were not. As long as His arms stayed up, yours would never have to be. As long as He was a perfect substitute there would be nothing left of this punishment for you to endure and that... gave Him joy. A joy that overrode the pain, a joy that overrode the grief, a joy that overrode the shame, a joy that overrode the agony. I'm willing to bet at each point of suffering from the garden to the cross, Christ was reminded of what this would spare you of. The more He suffered the more He stuck with it because He was now experiencing in His fleshly body what would be due you if He didn't. What was previously known as what was written and what was the Father's will was now being experienced in His fleshly humanness and the more His agony grew the more His resolve to keep you from it grew as well to the point of His resolve being solidified on the cross. Jesus may have had nails through His hands but it's His love that kept His arms out wide. At any time He could have came down, but for the joy that was set before Him (that's you) He endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2).


When Jesus met every bit of punishment we've earned and accomplished every bit of righteousness that we needed to be able to be with Him, His final words were words of victory.


"It is finished" (John 19:30).


Do not let the magnitude of this escape you. The moment and I mean the very moment Jesus said "it is finished" and gave up His Spirit in Matthew 27:50, it was at that exact moment recorded in the very next verse (Matthew 27:51) that the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom signifying the success of Jesus Christ and God freeing Himself to now dwell with His people and His people were free to dwell with Him. God had His face pressed against the veil and the moment Jesus accomplished the crucifixion God came running like a prisoner set free, dishing out mercy freely and abundantly to all whom would let Him to all those He longed to be gracious to (Isa. 30:18).


If you have been tracking with me on this, please listen to what could be my favorite song ever about this very event titled "Mercy Came Running" by Phillips, Craig & Dean.


Have you ever felt relief that it made you cry happy tears? A lost dog that after being gone for sometime is recovered and healthy and happy to see you, or a successful hip replacement surgery enabling you to walk again. Being able to breath after choking or hearing an officer come back on the radio on his own accord to say he regained control of the circumstances. Perhaps you have your own story of relief, God does too. Have you ever looked on with joy but maybe a bit of confusion at the Father's response to the prodigal son's return? (Luke 15:11-32) We know God is a God of calculations and wisdom beyond our understanding, but we see a heart-level response from God that does not compute. Perhaps this is what is being referenced when people sing about the "reckless love of God". After all, what causes the shepherd to leave the ninety-nine sheep to pursue the one who is lost until he finds it? (Luke 15:4). Now we could try and quantify it but let's consider if we lost our own child, how would we respond at first upon finding them?


Once when I was young I hid from my parents. They had the cops and neighbors all out looking for me. What finally gave my position away from where I was tucked inside the back of the dog house was my snickering as they all ran around frantically calling my name. You know how my mom responded when I was found? She wrapped her arms around me with a huge bear hug. In that moment her heart was filled with relief and the joy of her son being found overrode everything else. This is the driving, overriding, and as some put it, reckless love of God. Notice in the story with the prodigal how the prodigal attempted a speech he had prepared before hand (Luke 15:18-19) but you'll see when he was trying to get the speech out in Luke 15:21 the father had no regard for it, but rather cut him off to tell his servants to bring the best robes, rings, and shoes and put it on him and to kill the fattened calf so they could eat it and celebrate. God is love (1 John 4:8,16) and at this point in the story that is the overriding factor here. The logistics of it all are secondary. In fact, that's the Father's argument when the older son voices his complaint (Luke 15:25-30). The older son tries to reason with dad how His love toward this prodigal was reckless, but take notice of the Father's reply:


"But we had to celebrate and rejoice..." - Luke 15:32 (NASB).


"We had to celebrate." Notice it doesn't say, "it was advantageous to celebrate", nor does it say "it was a wise move to celebrate". The overriding love of God who was watching the horizon and spotted the son while he was a long way off, who ran and embraced and kissed him, who threw a party in honor of this son who was lost but now was found...had to celebrate. His heart could not-not rejoice! What forced the Father to celebrate? It wasn't that he was forced to by someone else, it wasn't per social norms, it wasn't because He needed the tax write off. Nope, the Father was compelled by none other than His own heart. Does it make logical sense? Not exactly, but until you're given a position that you can relate, or until you see God face to face (1 Cor. 13:12), it may not make much sense at all. But just because you can't quantify it doesn't invalidate it. I love that God's love is incomprehensible. I also love that Jesus shared this story with us to make known the Father's heart toward us.


Did you know that on sixteen different occasions in the book of Leviticus, an "aroma" is mentioned as something pleasing to the Lord (i.e. Lev. 1:9, Lev. 2:2, etc). Specifically, the aroma of a sacrifice is important to God. The importance of a sacrifice's aroma is not the smell but what the smell represents--the substitutionary atonement for sin. One specific instance is Noah's burnt offering in Genesis 8:21 which provided to God a "pleasing" aroma as Noah's sacrifice was a propitiation, or satisfaction, of God's righteous requirement. In the New Testament Paul describes Christ giving Himself up for us as a sacrifice and a "fragrant aroma" to God (Eph. 5:2).


God isn't a God who wishes to dole out punishment, while men seem to love instant justice it is not this way with God, just the opposite (1 Tim. 1:16, Rom. 9:22, 2 Pet. 3:9). When God's righteous requirement is met and therefore God's justice doesn't have to condemn those whom He loves so. God is relieved. This is the message of the cross. God is NOT a God who finds any pleasure in the death of the wicked (Eze. 18:23, 33:11, 2 Pet. 3:9) but rather one who is slow to anger and abundant in mercy (Psa. 145:8, Jon 4:2, Exo. 34:6). God's heart is one that's resistant to anger but goes headlong into lovingkindness. His heart is one found longing to be gracious to you and waiting to have compassion on you (Isa. 30:18). Jesus sacrifice makes way for grace and relieves God of not enduring what for Him was unbearable; that you would have to hold your arms out on the cross. Consider Jesus in the garden vs Jesus on the cross. The great pain Jesus knew was coming left Him sweating blood and in great agony, but it was the thought that if He didn't you would have to and for Him that was truly unbearable. Love always protects (1 Cor. 13:7).


Want to please God in the greatest way? Accept His sacrifice and that's all that's needed. Doing so will make all of heaven rejoice (Luke 15:7) and you will validate the joy Jesus felt over you as He kept His arms held out wide.


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