Watching this video, I’m reminded of how often I can choose the easy way. Out of fear, out of laziness, out of comfort-seeking – whatever it is, it is definitely out of selfishness….
I don’t want to live like that. I pray every day for courage. I don’t pray for comfort. But I must confess, I want it…..
And God won’t let me pray for it, praise him for that. I don’t know what that will mean in my life – but I do know that daily steps of obedience toward him, in faith that does not doubt or waiver, will only result in blessings. Not necessarily blessings in a “joyous, happy, comfortable” way. But blessings all the same. For starters – every time I take a step in obedience, the Lord blesses me with stronger faith, which allows me to take another step toward him.
He also blesses me with grace. Grace, which allows me to get up when I fall – even if my sin at the moment is NOT taking that step toward him, or doubting him and his promise – and more quickly than before. But also grace, which empowers me to say, “No” to the constant barrage of worldly desires. To say, “No” to my own flesh. These are immeasurable blessings in my book. I thank God for that every single day.
As we near Easter, many of us are spending time this week meditating on what Jesus did for us. He died for us, and not a simple comfortable, or even QUICK death. He died a gruesome, painful, humiliating death….
Not only that, he gave up his position with the Father for us. Do you get that??? He was fully in communion with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit! Lock-step, no deviation. We, who can seemingly NEVER do that with our families, our spouses, even our God, cannot fully understand all that he gave up. To live here on earth as one of us. To commune with us sinners, many who hated him and wanted him dead! His love drove him to this, so that we might have the power to return to him….
Most important – and most amazing to me – in that moment on the cross, just before his death, he gave up ANY sort of communion with the Father so that we have the opportunity to be reconciled to him. He endured HELL. He was smitten, cast out, forsaken. Ever been dumped by someone? Either in a dating relationship or marriage, or fired from a job, or cast out of your family or circle of friends? Yeah – that’s something we can get over to some degree. But to be forsaken by God – there is nothing left….. Complete darkness……. I don’t think we could recover from that….
I was up north with my wife once, and we were looking out at the bay at night, which was beautiful. The entire thing was gorgeous, with the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach (In the middle of winter mind you – still crashing waves, very cool!). But as you looked out as far as you could see, the sky was so dark, that you couldn’t see where it ended and the water began. You couldn’t see anything. We both comment on how eerie it was. I mean freakishly eerie….. Nothing but black, emptiness. I got this haunting feeling, “I wonder if this is what hell would be like……” I don’t want to know, personally. And I don’t want anyone else to know either……
But Jesus – he endured that. way, way beyond that, I imagine. For US. So we, who DESERVE that, don’t have to. Don’t you see that? Don’t you see how unbelievably crazy that is? He did this for us…….
Willingly. All of it willingly. He didn’t want to – if you read through the Gospels, you will see that he would rather not have had to endure this. But he endured all of this out of obedience to the Father. For us.
I leave you today with a passage from Matthew 26….
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Again, a second time, He went away and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done.”