Most kids at the day care led normal lives—but not Haley. She had some very big struggles. Her birth mother was a drug addict, causing her to be born with several disabilities—including the inability to speak.
Haley would often go into fits of rage. So the caretaker would take her into her office, sit with her in a rocking chair, and sing her the song “Jesus Loves Me.” It was almost a daily occurrence.
One day, the girl had an especially traumatic fit. So, as usual, the caretaker sat down with her in the rocking chair. But before she could begin to sing, the little girl looked up at her with tears in her eyes. She spoke her first words and said, “Sing about the man who loves me.”
In tough times, the love of Jesus makes all the difference. And nowhere is that love demonstrated more clearly than in His death on the cross. It was there that Jesus paid the penalty for every one of our sins—past, present, and future—so that we could inherit eternal life by grace through faith.
And there on that cross, Jesus had a single chapter of the Bible on His mind—a psalm, which He quoted as He hung there suffering. It’s Psalm 22, and it begins in verses 1 and 2 …
My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; and by night, but I have no rest.
It’s true, Jesus was abandoned for a time by God the Father on the cross. But it wasn’t because the Father didn’t love Him. It was because He had to be abandoned in order to receive God’s rightful wrath against sin.
But here’s something that’s really cool about this psalm. Look at verse 6 …
But I am a worm and not a man, a reproach of men and despised by the people.
Imagine for a minute the Son of God saying of Himself, “I am a worm.” People have said, “That just doesn’t sound right. Surely Jesus isn’t calling himself a maggot!”
Well, He’s actually not. The word that’s used here for “worm” is the Hebrew word Towl. It’s translated 8 times in the Bible as “worm,” and 35 times as “scarlet” or “crimson.” You see, in the world of invertebrates, there’s a creature known as the scarlet worm. The ancients used this little worm to produce scarlet dye. When the worm was crushed, it secreted a beautiful scarlet-colored substance suitable for dying cloth.
Do you know what’s really interesting about the scarlet worm? When the female is about to lay eggs, she climbs a tree, bores herself into it, and lays her eggs there. And when the eggs hatch, the scarlet worm dies affixed to the tree, and she releases that red, scarlet, crimson dye that stains both her body and the tree.
That is a vivid picture of God’s great love for you and me. Jesus is our scarlet worm who shed His blood to purchase our salvation. So in the ups and downs of life, remember those wonderful, reassuring words, “Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so."