“There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches.” (Proverbs 13:7)
On the path of discipleship there is not only loss, but the refusal to gain at the expense of disobedience. On the cross, the Son was willing to endure the loss of a closeness with the Father that He had never been without. Oh the sorrow of such desolation, if even for a moment! “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46)
God has created man in His image and likeness. We yearn for intimacy; for closeness. In leaving heaven’s abode, the Word was willing to be spatially separated from the Father. On the cross, He was willing to be spiritually distanced. Even when all else would leave Him, He rejoiced that He was not alone – the Father was with Him. But on that dark, desolate afternoon, both man and God were far from the voice of His groaning.
What Jesus had, He lost. Why? To bear our sin, thus paving the way for our intimacy with God. For many of Christ’s disciples, obedience has not resulted in the loss of an experienced intimacy; it has meant the unrealized hope of human closeness. But if such a cross is endured for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, there is the sure promise that the presence of God will be more than adequate compensation for time and eternity. Blessed gain!