“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Maybe you’ve been told your spouse is having an affair and wants to end your marriage.
Maybe you’ve been told you only have weeks to live. Oh, to extend the time, now that it seems so precious!
Maybe you are watching a loved one self-destruct, and you are begging God to intervene, but He seems surprisingly quiet.
In Matthew 26:36-45, we witness Jesus knowing that pain. His future is laid before Him. To save humanity, He must offer His life.
It will not be quick or easy. He can’t go down fighting. He must allow Himself to be arrested, accused, and convicted for a crime He didn’t commit. And He knows beforehand, each and every gory detail.
So, as we read in Luke 22:39, Jesus withdraws from the people to pray. There must be another way.
Yet, He told His Father He was willing to go through with it, if He must.
Verse 44 tells us just how dearly His obedient attitude cost: He was in such physical and mental anguish over His upcoming sacrifice that “His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
This terrifying anguish, after an angel had appeared, (v 43) to strengthen Him.
The purpose in studying the events leading to the cross is this: no matter what hardship you face, how deep your fear, how shallow your faith, or how overwhelming your agony, Jesus, the Son of God, understands your pain.
Will you turn to Him?
Monday: Fill in the blank: When I am in anguish, my first instinct is to turn to _________.
Tuesday: Read Romans 8:26 and Hebrews 7:25.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26
“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Hebrews 7:25
Especially when your journey is down a solitary path, are you ever truly completely alone?
Who is with you?
www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYLoigK4WSI This is a link to a song that says it all. The couple is from Canada and has an incredible back story I will share on Friday.
Wednesday: It’s OK to tell God how we feel. He wants us to communicate with Him. Jesus repeatedly told his Father He did not want to endure such sacrifice.
Like Jesus, how must we end our mental and vocal dialogue with God? (Read Matthew 26:39, 26:42 and Luke 22:42).
“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39
“He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” Matthew 26:42
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42
Jesus acknowledged God’s authority and God’s ability.
God has authority over everything. Yes, He could change our circumstances, but if He doesn’t, there’s a reason.
God has the ability to alter events and to see the entire picture. He has the ability to redeem everything. (See Romans 8:28)
Who among us can compare? Who knows better?
Thursday: Sometimes, our struggle, our crises, become all-consuming. They demand every thought, every moment of our time, every ounce of energy. The enemy will use anything and everything to distract us from God. Let us not allow our crises to tear us from God. Read Hebrews 12:2-3.
“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2-3
Verse 3 ends with, “SO you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Whatever your situation, God knows what weighs heavily on your heart. He wants to carry you through your trials. By considering the cost Christ paid, we can be encouraged to persevere through our own trials. And we have Jesus interceding for us, (Hebrews 7:25), and the Holy Spirit praying us through, (Romans 8:26). We are not abandoned, although the enemy often likes to make us think we are isolated and alone.
When facing a crisis in the future, how would you advise yourself to respond?
Write out your answer and tuck it inside your Bible, so you know where to find it when you need it.
Friday: Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you that I may approach Your throne. You know everything, including Your plans for me, and what it will take to bring me closer to the person you had in mind when You created me. Please help me always turn to You, not from You. Please Lord, use my trials as only You can, and continue refining me like gold. Amen.
I promised you the back story of “Love and the Outcome.” This couple felt called to serve God through music. They sold all they had, moved from Canada to Nashville, and lived out of their car for two years, before they hit that big record deal. They knew God had called them to something, but it was not an easy road there. I heard their testimony at a concert last spring, and have become a fan ever since. They are currently touring with WinterJam here in the United States, which is sweeping the nation. That show was here a few weeks ago, and yes, it was worth waiting outside in the cold for hours before the concert. It is that good!
We are hitting heavier material and deeper, thought-provoking topics this week. If you need prayer, or would like to discuss ideas you are now thinking through, please feel free to contact me. You may keep our conversation from being published by sending me an email at Stefanielynn3@gmail.com .
Thanks for reading! Please return by February 10, for the next post.