What a beautiful provision for what would appear to be so terrible and wasteful of an end – a life that was crowned for death.
If you knew that the flowers that you planted and tended in the early spring would die before they ever gave forth their first summer bloom, would you have handled them with as much care? If you knew that the plane would drop from the sky in mid flight would you have placed on it your greatest and most precious possessions? The answer most likely is “no.” But, you see, this isn’t a plant or a plane, this is a human soul.
The natural world has it’s process – there must first be the weeding before there can be the reaping. But things work differently in the spiritual world. The things of grace are crowned before they meet the thorn. The soul’s flowers are planted in the wintertime. The night songs are sent even before the night falls. God places His precious possessions on the vessels which are in the greatest danger. From Him, the beauty is given before the blast so that the blast is not too much of a burden.
The Heavenly Father doesn’t desire that you suffer pain. He desires to see your sacrifice transformed into singing, your burden into joy. He would have you be warmed by the fires of His hearth and heart before your cold journey begins. He would have you drink so deeply from the well of His love that it would sustain you through the long, dry and dusty desert. That’s why the crown must come before the cross.
I desire to have from the head that’s crowned with many crowns the one that came before the cross. I would discover the flower that came before the thorn and made the thorn bearable. I would rather be crowned with glory before the cross than to be crowned in its grief afterward. Sure, it’s a good thing to escape, but its far better to conquer. It’s beautiful to find joy on Olive’s mountain, but it’s more wonderful to have peace on Calvary’s. That’s why I pray for the stephanos before the sacrifice – to be crowned for duty’s altar. I would have my steps glorified before trodding down Dolorosa’s way, to climb the His transfigured mount and be illumined with His glory before I suffer. I would sit at the Passover’s table before I tasted of the Passover’s sorrow.
Lord, anoint me with the oil of Your gladness to prepare me for the grief of this world, for my cross will only become my crown when Your crown has come before my cross.