Have you ever wanted to run away? In those seasons in life when we are hit hard by the pain of disappointment, rejection or failure . . . the thought of escape is absolutely understandable. Many years ago, although my circumstances had actually improved, thoughts of running was hitting especially hard, Tired of fighting, I ran to the Scriptures for the help and perspective I needed. For two or three days I wrestled with my fear:“What if it happens again?” When I received no answer to my query I changed my question to, “How do I move forward?”
The answer was immediate and almost took my breath away when I opened my Bible and read:
“Get rid of all bitterness (and) rage . . . along with every form of malice.
Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving . . . just as in Christ God forgave you.
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children
and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us
and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
As I was forced to face the basis of my fear–bitterness and pride–I felt as if I had been slammed in my gut. Even so, I was profoundly encouraged by God’s answer to my question, couched as it was His reminder of my own need for redemption:
“Walk in the way of love . . . as Christ did . . .
who gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
The realization that it took enormous determination and a gritty courage for Jesus to carry out His Father’s Plan encouraged me like never before. When Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done,”* He fully understood what was to come in a very few hours. In those moments of reflection, I found courage in Jesus’s gritty steadfastness, to love, to forgive and to trust again as I placed everything at His feet.
These days many scoff at faith as being “naive . . . not in touch with the real world . . . a false hope for weak people.” But those who have entered into a faith relationship with Christ will tell you, faith is anything but naive. In fact,
- Faith faces the fact of our human condition before a Holy God–there is no such thing as a “good person”.
- Faith recognizes that we cannot save ourselves—“For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.”***
- Only a faith invested in the gritty love demonstrated by Jesus, who knowingly faced rejection, torture and a very public execution, is a faith worth having.
Thankfully, it doesn’t stop there . . .
Faith knows that Sunday is coming and an empty tomb awaits for all the world to see—
Praise Him for a gritty faith that moves us forward,
to live for, love and serve Him with glad hearts!
“Yet to all who received Him, to who believed in His name,
He gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent,
nor of human decision or a husband’s will,
but born of God.”
John 1:12, 13
All to His Glory!
**Maundy Thursday commemorates the last meal Jesus and His disciples shared before His arrest and crucifixion.