“The mightiest are those who trust in the Lord and obey Him, no matter how impossible things appear” ~ Bloom
All too often when we tell the stories of victories we leave out the dark nights and lonely hours of tears and struggles. Even with Jesus, His emphatic statement of determination, “Thy will be done” rolls off our tongues without contextualizing it with the intensity of His tear-soaked prayers in which “He was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.” (Luke 22:44) The anguish Jesus felt can be seen in His request of His friends, “He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”” (Matt 26:38) Even as Christians, we live in a fantasy world where we think everything is supposed to be easy and soft. We have this opinion that ‘it will all get worked out in 30 minutes or less’; that is a lie. Life is hard, it is full of sin, sicknesses, heartaches, suffering, and pain; much of which stays with us from birth to death. It is to this truth that Jesus spoke when He said to His disciples, “Do you finally believe? But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.
Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:31-33)
There are no platitudes or Christianized sayings that will ever make the pain stop. I have stood in enough spots, hearing those painful realities and wanting to scream, “take this away!”, and then go on trembling as I wrestled with the rest of Jesus’ words, “But, Thy will be done.” Anyone can be arrogant and full of pride; it takes no courage or determination to achieve those two positions in life. But to fall on your knees and trust God’s Word in the face of this world’s hungry lions… it is these who are the mightiest among us. Everyone has an opinion of what you should do, but try ‘being still, knowing with certainty and assurance’ that God has your back… these are the courageous.
The truth is, God does not give you what you can handle, He gives you what you can trust Him to handle for you. And He does it “to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:9) There is no better place than to be at God’s side; the One who loves you and did not even hold back from giving His own Son in your place, to redeem you from the consequences of sin and death. Unfortunately, He knows it takes adversity and tragedy to get us to move to Him and grasp hold of His hand.
If you are facing some overwhelming adversity, and you will if not now, take heart… there is Hope, you are not alone. Jesus’ friends may have slept in the garden while He prayed, but God came to Him and comforted Him, and He has promised to never leave or forsake you as well!
Take heart, God is at work even when you can’t see it. And you can be at peace in Christ, knowing “that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:3-4)
Take heart knowing that at some point through the anguish and tears, your wounded heart will rejoice, all be it with trembling words and at times, with inaudible groans, for “though now for a little while you may have had to suffer seemingly unbearable grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Don’t lose heart, grasp hold of Jesus who has ‘overcome the World’. And with His help wrestle with your pain, allowing your faith to grow. Yes it hurts, and yes you will carry the scars from the battle. But it is the mighty who trust God, obeying His Word, who say, “But Thy will be done”; no matter how impossible things appear.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9)
Praying 4 U
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.