I'm definitely writing this post tonight...broken hearted and confused. And yet, with a peace that surpasses any type of understanding that my mind tries to wrap itself around. My post tonight is going to be really simple, and hopefully God will use it to clear a lot of things up for some people...especially myself. My focus really shifted tonight towards thoughts of our great Redeemer- the One who through whom and by whom and for whom ALL things were created. Our great Mediator...our Advocate before the Father. Jesus Christ who sits at the right hand of the Father and is seated upon His throne. The Lord graciously led me to this verse that I posted above, Luke 22:44. This verse describes our Savior, my friends! This isn't describing a mere man walking upon the earth and enduring hardships. This is the perfect Son of God who, upon recalling his upcoming crucifixion and bearing of the wrath of God towards sin, was struggling so intensely! Praise God that we have a High Priest who has experienced the very hardships and emotions that we endure as human beings!
I also want to point out something that may be really obvious, but is really permeating my soul right now. It is the truth that God uses things that are so intense and painful to sanctify us and to bring good out of it all, for His glory. This is a verse of Jesus praying in agony so much so that He is sweating blood. Jesus knew He was about to go through the darkest time in human history- enduring the wrath of His Father. He knew this, and He was in pain over it. But yet, He remained sinless, and kept His focus upon the perfect plan of His Father. He knew that by enduring this horrible horrible crucifixion, so much good was on the other side, and the Lord's name was going to be ultimately lifted up.
O that we would learn from our Savior. O that we would humble ourselves enough to submit to the Lord's will in our lives no matter how much blood it causes us to sweat (figuratively speaking). If our Lord had to endure such agony while here on this earth, what makes us think that we can skip through life unscathed. As a Christian, one thing is for sure...deep, heart-wrenching afflictions should not come as a surprise. Why would our path be any different than our Lord's? Jesus Christ's death on the cross is proof that God uses those things which are of the utmost pain to bring the most good and the most glory to His name.
One could possibly object here, and say "but Susan, Jesus had perfect knowledge that even though He knew it was going to be grueling, everything in the end was going to work out for the better. In my life- in situation x- there's no guarantee that everything isn't going to fall apart on me...and cause me to hurt for the rest of my life."
Maybe I just quoted myself. hmm.
So here comes the scripture to rebuke me....as usual.
How much more reassurance could we possibly ask for? First of all...all things work together FOR THE GOOD for those who are called according to his purpose. Wow. Seriously? Even this pain? Yes. Not to mention the verses that follow that basically should have every Christian jumping up and down praising the Most High for the work that is promised to take place in them. Its incredible. It's also incredible of how quickly I can let this eternal perspective go down the drain. Lord, please forgive me and grant me the grace to endure affliction like my Savior did: with Your perfect will in mind.
Read Luke 22:44 again. Jesus wasn't naive. He didn't put on a happy face and prance through the garden. His agony was felt in the depths of His soul. Being a Christian doesn't mean you hang up the phone after that gut wrenching phone call and put on a smile and act like you are ok when clearly your world has just been shaken to the core. It means that you deal honestly with the situation, and you are real about the pain that it is causing. So real in fact that it makes you sprint to your Savior to comfort you...and to remind you of His word...and His promises. Praise God for them. Being a Christian means that these fires of sanctification cause you to shelter yourself with prayer....just like Jesus did that night. "He prayed more earnestly." WOW. I pray that the Lord would draw me unto Himself through all of this. That I would run to Him, and do what my Savior did: pray more earnestly. These afflictions bring up the need to examine myself and hold myself up to the mirror of scripture, yet again. Praise God that He is faithful and worthy of our trust. Praise God for His perfect will and how all things are done according to His good pleasure and for the glory of His name. Please Lord...Please grant me this perspective...and continue to sanctify me. Please do the same for my brothers and sisters, Father. Thank you for the gift of repentance and salvation. May our hearts be filled with grattitude tonight, as we fix our eyes on Jesus Christ the Author and Finisher of our faith.