Friday, April 10, 2009

A Man's Man


I wrote this awhile ago...but I think it's so fitting today, on this Good Friday. Thank you for the Cross.

Like most single women, I spend time thinking about the man that I will end up with. Is it someone that I know? Is it someone that has been in my life before, but not currently? Is it a complete stranger that God is just putting “on hold” until a time in our lives when our paths cross? Who will this person be?

Even more to the point, what kind of person will he be? Will he be passive or aggressive? Will he been sweet, kind, laidback, high strung, dependent, independent, or all of the above? I am very dominant person—will he be also? Will he be the leader of my household, as God has commanded him to be? I pray for all of these things. I pray for him to be an excellent father, a kind and gentle soul with a firm hand, a man’s man but one who has a soft side. Some believe that girls typically are attracted to men who are like their fathers. I think this could be true in my case. Let me tell you about my dad. He’s an Army man, but not regimented. He is the rational one in the family—he had to be in a house of all women. He uses reason, not emotion, to make decisions. He’s factual. He’s gentle. He loves. He disciplines. He’s a protector. He’s incredibly laid-back. He is the least judgmental person that I’ve ever encountered. He’s supportive, but allows me to make my own mistakes. He’s intelligent, but not bookish. He does not care what others think of him. He is comfortable in his own skin. He’s a leader, but likes to be behind the scenes. He fights for injustice, even when it’s being quiet. He stands up for his family and loves unconditionally. Why wouldn’t I want a man just like that?

What about our heavenly Father? Do we factor His character into this equation at all? We are, after all, made in His own image—the image of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? So what kind of image is that? What is the image of God—or more so, what is the image of Jesus?

I’ve thought about this for awhile. And after listening to a couple of sermons about this very topic, I think I’ve found some answers…and unfortunately, some problems. I believe that we as Christians focus our attention more on the lamb qualities of Jesus and overlook His lion qualities. Think about it, when I say “Jesus”, what comes to mind? Sitting with the children? Healing the sick? Washing the disciples’ feet? Please don’t get me wrong—I don’t want to take away from these images. This is our Savior…but it is only one aspect of Him. Jesus is a gentle soul. He is the Man that children want to be with. He is loving and caring and respectful. But like us, He has many sides. And honestly, the other sides to Him are what make me fall in love with Him more and more.

You see, I’m in love with a man’s man. And when He walked the earth, that’s what Jesus was. He was rugged. He was strong. He was feared. Don’t believe me? Let me walk you through this…

Jesus was a carpenter for 30 years. Since His father Joseph was a carpenter, Jesus probably picked up these skills at a very early age. And Jewish carpenters were not like modern-day carpenters. They were similar to lumberjacks, handling olive and acacia wood, as well as stones and rocks. Carpenters during this time were not building dainty objects; they were building homes, tables, chairs—sturdy and steadfast. Jesus’s hands would be rough, calloused and scarred. His forearms would show years and years of wear carrying heavy lumber. Jesus was a blue-collared worker. A man who was not afraid to roll up his sleeves and dive into a mountain of difficult labor.

After Jesus started his ministry, He walked over 5,000 miles preaching and teaching. 5,000 miles. In three years. He walked 70 miles alone just to be baptized by John. His feet would be worn, probably bleeding from the many blisters and sores he would have gotten. He surrounded himself with fishermen. He spent the majority of his time around the sea and salt water. His skin would be bronzed and weathered. In fact, we know that Jesus was not an attractive man. He wasn’t someone who turned heads as he walked down the street. Isaiah tells us that “there was nothing beautiful or majestic about his presence.” He was common in looks. Ordinary even.

Jesus was a force to be reckoned with. Someone who was feared—so much so that the only way to stop Him was to kill Him. They sent a mob out to arrest Jesus. Not just one man. Or two. A mob. The Jewish leaders were under the mentality that there were strength in numbers. When the mob asked around for Jesus, the sound of his voice made them quiver with fear. Fall back on their knees. Hide their faces to the ground. He was feared. He had fire in his eyes. And the Jewish leaders knew that.

Even in death, Jesus had strength. A man’s man. He didn’t receive a Jewish beating—a beating with only 39 meager lashes. No. Jesus received a Roman beating; a beating that was limitless in number. A beating that was completely subjective and could last for as long as the Roman guards wanted it to. It was so horrific that seven out of 10 men did not survive it. It was so horrifying that it alone caused death. And yet, Jesus survived. No wonder He stumbled when He was force to carry His own cross. I can’t even begin to imagine what the walk to Golgotha was like. Blood dripping down His face, mixing with the tears and the sweat. The heavy cross scratching along his open wounds. The memories of being betrayed in unfair trails by the very people He came to save. And yet, He survived. When He did finally commit His spirit and die, He did so triumphantly. But His body. His body was so badly beaten that even His best friends did not believe He could physically rise again in three days. And yet, He did.

You see, this is the man that I’m in love with. A man’s man. A man who did all of this for me. Who loved me so much that He laid His life down…for me.