Don Goulding - Blog

Tragic Love

84690 004 D096CCF6And he died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:15 NET_FL)

For centuries the love of Romeo and Juliet has been celebrated because tragic love is the most profound.

The families of the lovestruck couple were feuding so they married secretly. Then Juliet’s father engaged her to a self-absorbed count. In response, she swallowed a drug to simulate death. Her plan was to be entombed and later rise to escape with Romeo but he found her comatose and assumed she was dead and so poisoned himself. When Juliet awoke and discovered the truth, she stabbed herself to join Romeo in death.

The story of John meets Jane in high school, they marry, have 2.5 healthy children, and live happily ever after doesn’t engage our hearts because it’s unchallenged love. Jesus’ love for me is not John and Jane love but Romeo and Juliet love. It’s tragic love.

Jesus said, “I will die so we can be together.” He knowingly left perfection to enter a hateful world that murdered him. The intensity of his love compelled him into this most epic tragedy in history.

Like Juliet, it’s now my turn to die for Jesus, but this plot has a twist. Though Christ died, he arose again and his Spirit returned to live in me, his lover. As I die to self, the life of my true love lives on in my body. In a hundred ways every day, I reciprocate the death of him who is my passion. It’s the love saga of ultimate sacrifice and union. Our mutually tragic love will be celebrated throughout eternity.

Prayer: Yes, Great Love, we willingly die for each other.

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More Than Everything

Mtn Top 1When Christ (who is your life) appears, then you too will be revealed in glory with him. Colossians 3:4 (NETFull)

It began when I was a boy and knew I had sinned. I needed the forgiveness offered through Jesus. I was baptized at age eleven and every life challenge since nudged me further into  relationship with Christ. Somewhere along the way, he became my everything.

Jesus is the Divine who planted the seed of eternity in my heart. I didn’t do that, he did. He is also the gardener who waters and weeds around his seed so it might grow. Looking at the fruit of good deeds on my branches, I know he is the sap running in my veins that creates the miracle.

Jesus is the medicine for my raging dysfunction. He is the doctor who slips my dislocated life into place and the mortar that holds me together. He is the music that transforms my spastic twitching into dance. When opinions differ and minor doctrines divide, Jesus quells the fear we must get everything right. If health fails or friends abandon, he is the sunshine that fills the icy crevasse. He is my freedom, my peace, and my hope.

Imagine you’re in the vacuum of outer space. In panic, you try to draw breath but there’s nothing, only reflexive gulping of emptiness. That’s what it’s like to live without Jesus. Take him out of the equation and you no longer have life, only a shell like a clam with the creature missing or a cocoon with the butterfly gone. No life, just empty, dark existence with fading memories of the concept of light.

Jesus is more than everything. He is more existent than me. I’m only here because of his love. He is the cause, I am the effect. Though my faith in him began as a tiny seed, it has grown into an unmovable tree. By the power of his Spirit, my branches stretch toward him and they won’t be deterred. I will be united with my everything.

Prayer: Oh, Jesus, you are everything I want from life.

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Orphans of Chennai

IMGP8122See that you do not disdain one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:10 (NETFull)

On the last day in India our team visited an orphanage in Chennai. Fourteen freshly bathed children met us at the gate and handed a rose to each of us. The grade-schoolers pled, “Uncle, come sit by me.” “Aunty, over here, please sit between us.” They pumped love into us from their eyes.

The day before there were fifteen children but one was sent to the terminal care center. These were AIDS orphans and they knew they had little time on earth. They were shunned by their community, lived in faith for their next meal, and had their life expectancy hacked short.

It didn’t matter to the orphans that the world had robbed them of life. They were connected to the face of their heavenly Father and amply supplied with what really mattered. We had first-world wealth, experiences they couldn’t imagine, and education on a host of subjects—and they gave to us. These were spiritual giants, magnates of unlimited resource who tossed out fortunes of goodwill as though it cost them nothing.

The words of Jesus shouted from the pages of Revelation, … you say, “I am rich and have acquired great wealth, and need nothing,” but do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. He says that about me and the people I live among, not about the orphans of Chennai. 

The kids were a living motto—Joy for what is without a care for what is not. I need that level of trust in my life. It all made me realize that from my place of impoverishment I must look up to the shining orphans of Chennai.

Prayer: Father of the fatherless, make me rich in spirit like them.

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