When It’s Too Much…
Posted on April 3, 2020 by Catey Stover in Freedom Fighters
Where is the breaking point? When have they gone too far, and how long can I stand being isolated? When is ‘one more thing’ one too many? When can I say ‘I have trusted this far, but the hurt is too great, I give up?’
We don’t have to give up; we can hold fast to our confession of faith because there is someone we can trust, someone capable of bearing our burdens and fighting for us, who ‘sympathizes with our weaknesses and has in ‘every respect’ been tempted as we are, and Yet has not failed to trust God in all things. (Hebrews 4:15)
From our perspective, if there was ever someone who would want to walk away from a purpose, it was Jesus. He chose to give up His divine power and trust in The Spirit to work through Him. He took on the form of man and lived by dependent obedience to God’s Word as His servant. In doing so, He glorified His father’s name and was counted worthy of His purpose to bear God’s wrath towards all sin in our place; He was the perfect levitical ‘unblemished lamb.’ Because He did not back down from His mission, those whose trust is in Jesus, are legally justified in God’s sight. Because of His obedience, when we put our faith in His completed work of salvation, we are declared “not guilty” and welcomed into God’s holy presence.
To be this perfect kind of advocate for us, Jesus had to face all the fear and anxiety we face; He had to feel the shame and guilt of sin as we do. To be our perfect High Priest, Jesus had to be tried, tested, and proven like precious metal… seared in the anguish of loneliness and depression; and instead of giving in to His own human desire to flee, He leaned heavily into God, trusting in His promises… just as we are urged to do.
There is a scene just before Jesus goes to the cross that has come to mean a lot to me. It’s in the garden of Gethsemane. Here is the only place I can find where Jesus asked His disciples to pray with Him… How vulnerable and weak He must have felt; He knew His purpose was to reconcile all men to the Holy God, and that this required His bearing the curse of sin at the cross. But here in the garden seemed to be too much. Luke writes that “being in ‘agony’ He was praying ‘very fervently,’ so much so that His sweat became like drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44) Three times He anguished, “Father if you are willing, remove this cup from Me, yet not my will, but Yours be done.” (v.42) My chair by the window has heard the distress of these words many times… I wish with the kind of faith Jesus had. The vulnerability felt in the last line is overwhelming; were it not for the faithfulness of God’s promises, these words would lack any kind of assurance. But for the One who knows the loving-kindness of the Father and the faithfulness of our God; each word of this prayer rings with hope and certainty that God has your back and is fighting for you. The reason Paul can write, “I can do all things through Christ” (Phil 4:13) is because he has crucified his own will, as Christ did, making Himself vulnerable to the mercy, strength, and love found only at God’s ‘Throne of Grace.’
It was in the garden that Jesus faced the shame, guilt, and despair that walking away from God’s perfect will brings. Because He did not give in to these feelings, and leaned heavily into God, casting all His burdens on Him, “an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.” (Luke 22:43) In His dependent obedience to God’s Word, Jesus trusted that God is true to His promises, and the Spirit will work through all who believe. It was in this assurance Jesus pressed forward, no matter the cost or obstacle, walking in the purposes of God. You can to, just follow the example He has given us. Sure there will be tears and pain, He never says otherwise. What God promises is never leaving your side, coming to you in your sorrow, comforting you in your distress, renewing your strength, and walking with you through the furnace, shutting the jaws of every opposition along the way.
God’s purpose is to get you home to Himself, and that journey goes through the struggle of this life to walk by faith, trusting in every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Don’t give up, don’t ever give in… There is hope, and His name is Jesus.
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.
Think About This: “For even as I’m struggling through life’s brutal desert heat, He floods me with Amazing Grace and fills my heart with peace.” -Patty Fischer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His [a]mercy endures forever. 2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy –Psalm 107:1-2
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.