(This post is an excerpt from David Asscherick's book, God in Pain. I could type out the whole book for you to read, but I think that would seriously infringe on copyright. I encourage you all to read the book if you haven't.)
Only God is able to appreciate the value of a person. We cannot appreciate or understand even our own value. God is the only being in the universe equipped to appreciate the value of an eternal life and the loss of an eternal death. And thus, God's joy is bound to be greater than any other human being's.
But so too is His pain.
Value is an important concept, both biblically and beyond. We value value. We love eBay, don't we? And Craigslist. And who can resist a going-out-of-business sale? A few, sure, but not most. No one likes to overpay; we all want the maximum bang for our buck. We understand the concept of value.
Consider with me two factors that have a determinative effect on value.
Number one: the prince someone is willing to pay. One person's value is another person's rip-off. Value, then, is largely subjective. I once saw a men's sport coat that cost $4999.95. It wasn't made of gold or Kevlar. It did not have any personal rocketry attached. It was, in fact, rather ordinary looking. One hundred percent wool. Leather elbow patches. Sharp, sure, but not worth even one-tenth of the asking price.
To someone else, however, it's a whole different banana. Someone else may think it's a fair price, or even a good price. And then, slowly, it dawned on me (this is usually how things dawn on me: slowly), if this jacket is in this store with this price tag on it (there were actually several of them in different sizes), presumably, then, people come in here and buy these things. How simple and how profound: the value of an item is determined by the one who is willing to pay the price.
And God bought you.
At what cost?
"You were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold...but with the precious blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:18,19).
That is, with the blood of God--with God's own life.
Now ask yourself this question: What is God worth? What is His value? I mean how much money would it take to buy God? Stop laughing. Or swearing. The point is made: God, of course, is infinitely valuable. But wait...His life was your price.
What, then, is your value?
Infinite. Priceless. Immeasurable.
Don't think so? Don't take this the wrong way, but it doesn't really matter. What really matters is what God thinks about your value. And He has spoken. In fact He has done far more than this.
He has died.
That you might live.
But consider now a second factor that is determinative for value: quantity. My friend Stevan just bought a new car, a nice one. He paid $27,000 for it. He tells me it was a good deal and I believe him. What he means by that, naturally, is that he got a good value for his money. The car is a 2009 Volkswagon Jetta. Diesel. White. Station wagon. Now I don't know how many Jettas Volkswagon made in 2009, but let's say it was 25,000. Now here's the point: the value of that car is directly tied to quantity, as in how many of them there are. With cars, like most things, as quantity decreases, price increases. Consider a limited edition 1968 Porsche Roadster (I don't even know if there is such a thing, but just bear with me, Car and Driver subscribers, OK?). Let's say there are only five of them that remain in excellent to mint condition. Is it worth more or less than the Jetta?
Sure it's a better car, but there is more important factor: quantity. And behind quantity lies the real issue: access. There are only five, so access is limited. You can't go down to the local car dealer and pick one up. Not gonna happen. So what's it worth? $500,000? $750,000? Now imagine there are only three. What's it worth now? $1,000,000? You know where this is going.
Imagine there's only one.
What's it worth?
Now the application. There is only one of you. But that's not even half the story. You are not only the only you there is; you are the only you there could ever be. No other person could ever be you. You are it. In fact, not even God, with all of the resources of omnipotence at His disposal, could make another you.
I'm not kidding. Not even God.
Here's why: you are, as we have learned [read the rest of the book to learn what he means there], a composite of the free decisions you have made throughout your life. Those decisions are yours. They are not mine. They are not your husband's or your wife's or your dad's or your mom's. They are yours. And when you make those decisions, you are both creating and crafting the person that you will be.
"For better or worse, we irreversibly become the decisions we make. . . .Self-determining freedom is about what morally responsible contingent beings choose to do on their way to deciding what they are going to permanently be." --Gregory A. Boyd, Satan and the Problem of Evil, p.189.
Think of it this way: if God (or anyone else) somehow made those decisions for you in a coercive way, then they wouldn't be your decisions, would they? No, they would not. Do you see the beauty of genuine of self-determining freedom here? Surely, you must. God has made you and give you to you so that you can make you into who you want to be. (Say it five times fast.) Surely, then, He is worthy of your praise and gratitude, yes?
So not only are you the only actual you; you are the only possible you. What, then, is your value? Your worth? Your price?
Like the ever-legendary "vase," you are irreplaceable. Even by God.
Your salvation, then, is God's eternal treasure.
And your condemnation would be His eternal loss. In fact your loss, heaven forbid that you should be unsaved, will be far more painful to God than you. You'll be gone. Dead. No more. The pain is for those who are left. And since God knew who you were--and what you could've been!--best, His pain would be the sharpest and achiest and keenest.
God in pain.
And such need not be the case with you. Decide right now that it will not be!
But mournfully (this is far too weak a word, but that is because all words are too weak for this), many will be lost forever.
Their pain would have been momentary. God's, at some level, will be eternal.
For He will always know what could have been. Is He joyful for the many who are saved to be eternally with Him? Joy is also far too weak and feeble a word, but yes, yes, of course He is! "There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance" (Luke 15:7, ESV). And yet, the one saved cannot replace the one lost. For both are irreplaceable.
"Scripture repeatedly affirms that God does not want any person to be lost (1 Tim. 2:4; 4:10; 2 Pet. 3:9). But is also states in no uncertain terms that multitudes of people will, in fact, be lost. From this is seems reasonable to conclude that if God could have designed the world in such a way that all would say yes to Him and no one would be lost, He would have done so. The fact that He did not suggests that He could not have done so. The possibility of saying no to God must be metaphysically entailed by the possibility of saying yes to Him." --Gregory A. Boyd, Satan and the Problem of Evil, p. 53.
Three words: Please, say yes.