I am not big on returning stuff. In fact, there are many times that I just don’t buy things because I don’t want to even think of the hassle of how inconvenient it may be if I have to return an item. So, to be perfectly transparent about it, we tend to buy local whenever we can.
We get food from the local grocery store, get clothes at the local malls and only buy things online that are standard – such as razor blades or cleaning supplies or stuff for the smoker in the back yard. In fact, we have dealt with Amazon since about 2008 and have never returned anything! That is, until earlier this week.
And you know what? It has been something of a nightmare. We had a package that Amazon wanted us to send back – to return to them – and I have spent literally hours on the phone trying to deal with their customer service department. Thank goodness that I have at least been able to speak to them by phone rather than deal with their online process.
To cut to the chase, since the item they wanted me to return is electronic (a security camera), there has been a significant problem with how to get this item back to them. At first I was told that I had to prepare it for shipment by putting the camera in a box and setting it outside for UPS. Of course, I’m not really comfortable with that idea as we don’t want the thing stolen from the front porch waiting for them to pick it up.
Then, when I received the email confirmation, I was told that UPS wouldn’t pick up the package unless we stayed home all day waiting for them to arrive. We had to physically hand the package to UPS. But I wasn’t going to be home so I asked for a label. That way, I could drop it off at the UPS store and that would be that. However, after speaking with two different customer service people, it turns out that the only way to accomplish the return was to wait for UPS and change our plans for the day.
We are now waiting for a refund that will take up to two weeks to receive. It’s been quite a journey.
There is, however, one return that I am very grateful for. That’s the return of Jesus to heaven at the ascension. After all, God the Father sent His Son to earth to atone for the sins of the world and to provide a way back to communion with the Father. We all know the Christmas story, when a baby was born to Mary in a stable in Bethlehem. This was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy – God coming to earth in human form. By the way, He was also fully God as well.
Of course, we also know that the Jewish people were looking for a white knight sort of king – not a baby in a manger. Throughout His life, Jesus taught in the synagogue, taught His disciples (sometimes called apostles) and died on the cross for our sins, among a lifetime of other accomplishments. After all that, Jesus rose from the dead and then ascended to the Father.
We are told in the Scripture that Jesus did the will of the Father and encouraged others to do the same. By coming to earth, Jesus, while remaining divine, emptied Himself of the prerogatives of deity. In other words, Jesus didn’t have all the answers about the future – that was the domain of God the Father. We do know that the Father sent Jesus to atone for the sins of the world. You could say that He came from heaven to earth and, at the ascension, he returned to the One who sent Him – His Father.
Our verse for tonight is the verse after the most famous verse in the Bible. We can all probably recite John 3:16, the foundational verse for Christians but most of us aren’t familiar with John 3:17, the verse that affirms that the Father sent Jesus to earth. John, the apostle, who wrote the Gospel bearing his name, tells us, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” There we have it – confirmation that God sent His Son to save the world…
My encouragement this evening is that Jesus is still in heaven acting as our advocate. Eventually, He will return to rule for all eternity. My prayer is that we will all ponder the sacrifice of not only Jesus, but also God the Father, who sent His Son to us – and then brought Him back home to heaven again. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…