The most significant battle we face is accepting the pain that accompanies God’s Will for our lives. We pray for peace and solace when it’s the valley of the shadow of death that God intends us to enter. Our friends and family gather around us, pleading for a respite from the battle, but that is not God’s plan; when Peter wielded the sword in Christ’s defense, Jesus admonished him, “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?
Jesus understood it was crucial that He humbly walk through the fires of adversity towards the cross… because that was God’s Will for saving the World from sin… there is no other way. So, in obedience and humility, Jesus pressed on, even though it meant His death… and we can do the same because He walks with us as well.
This understanding came when Jesus fought his most significant battle in the garden with his weapon of choice, Prayer. There He told His disciples, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” then He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not mine.” (Matthew 26:38-39, 52-54 NLT)
God’s Will may include the cost of our lives to reach others with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Just imagine how further our suffering takes us, even more so than anywhere our pleasure and ease could ever visit. Our travails take us beyond the gates of denial and into the courtyards of acceptance and compassion; Paul’s arrest, imprisonment, and death took the gospel to the heights of power and into Caesar’s home. Jesus’ Sacrifice and death conquered sin and darkness, freeing all who believe from their enslavement to these cruel masters.
I don’t know what you’re facing today, an illness, disease, bankruptcy, personal loss, emotional trauma, rejection, hopelessness, or even death itself. But what I am certain of is God is at work in and through those who believe to reach a corrupt world with His salvation message. And the remarkable thing is… He allows us to participate in such a joyous ministry. Imagine the fruit your life can bear by laying it down like a seed planted in the fertile soil of God’s Word. What joy you will know as you sing with your loved ones, the new song of Heaven. Sure it hurts now; I write each word between the tears of sorrow and pain I experience, but what if it’s through those tears of hurt that the seeds of God’s love are watered, and lives are changed?
Don’t give up; press on through the fire! Yes, the valley of the shadow of death yields fears, anguish, loss, and death, but I will fear no evil because Christ, my Good Shepherd, is with me, “I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies and infirmity. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalms 23:4-6 NLT)
Hold on; joy comes in the morning; the sunrise of God’s deliverance is just a heartbeat away.
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.