A few years ago, a movie entitled Taken made me think about my love for my children and God’s love for all.
The story is about a father whose daughter goes to Europe with a friend but ends up “taken.” A professional crime syndicate that snatches unsuspecting victims and sells them into slavery kidnaps her. Watching the movie, made my heart beat faster. I feel the hair rise on the back of my neck.
I can’t imagine the horror the girl experiences and the fright and desperation the family goes through. I remember when my own daughter who was still in High School, went to Thailand for an exchange student program. Her departure caused me some personal anxiety because I know that Thailand has one of the worst prostitution problems in the world. I heard of girls being kidnapped by syndicates and abused in the streets of Bangkok. Her travel made me anxious and stressed.
So when I see the first part of the movie, where the daughter is on her cell phone with her father and he tells her, “They are going to take you,” and then we hear his daughter screaming as she is pulled from under her bed, I just want to run to my daughter, no matter where she is, and grab her and hug her and confirm my love for her. I feel the pain this father is suffering—knowing his daughter is going through almost unbearable trauma of her own. Of course the rest of the movie is about the father rescuing his daughter.
The movie always makes me focus on the primal urge I have to protect my children and to what lengths I would go to rescue one who was taken or in trouble. Just like the father in the movie, I’d do just about anything humanly possible to save any of my children, and woe to anyone who stands in the way of my trying to protect them.
I also know that my love for my children—the love that doesn’t let anything stand between us and our children—is from our heavenly Father. Our Father loves us so much he was not willing to let anything come between him and us. That “us” means you and me and every person ever created.
I haven’t been taken by a professional kidnapping ring that wants to sell me into slavery, at least not in the literal sense. But truth be told, the enemy did all he could to kidnap humanity and sell us into slavery to our sins. Like the girl in the movie, we were all sold into darkness, and that darkness became a way of life. But God doesn’t leave us in our darkness.
Our heavenly Father stopped at nothing to rescue us from our darkness. He gave us his Son (John 3:16). And the Son stopped at nothing to rescue us. He gave up his life. This season, which includes Lent, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter, is about our rescue from darkness. In his letter to the church in Galatia, Paul refers to God stopping at nothing for us. “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Galatians 1:3-4).
The Easter season reminds us that Jesus died for us because he loves us. He took all our darkness upon himself; he became our darkness and our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), and he paid the ultimate penalty for sin—death. But the story doesn’t end at his death. Jesus took our darkness so we could be reconciled to our Father, so we could be restored to right relationship with God. Jesus rose from the grave to embrace us and take us to the Father (Ephesians 2:4-6).
Near the end of the movie, we see the father and daughter wrapped in a joyful and love-filled embrace. This is how I’ve always pictured the embrace between my Father and me. I know I’ve been rescued, and I know he rescued me because of his love for me. I know Jesus gave his all for me because of the joy of bringing me out of darkness and into his glorious light (Hebrews 12:2). You and I were taken captives by the deceiver and enemy but have been rescued by a Loving Father who truly cares.