Tuesday, December 19, 2017

It's Okay To Ask

Was Jesus saddened by His asking for the cup to pass? Did He feel weak for wanting to avoid the pain that was to come? Did He beat up on Himself for not bucking up and just doing what was asked of Him?

I was struck by these questions in reading Timothy today. "Be strong in the grace of Christ Jesus." I hear often the command, "Show yourself a little grace!" probably because I am often harder on myself than I should be. Forgiveness and love beyond measure should be extended to all. That includes me. Jesus didn't need that grace but He prayed long and hard in the garden. He talked with God about what He was going to face. He asked if He could not have to go through the pain. Did He then think poorly of Himself because of that? I know I would have if I were asking.

What about others? Do I think less of them for asking to avert life's troubles? To give love and forgiveness to others is difficult, for sure, but not so much when I remember that we are imperfect and make mistakes. So why do I not apply the same grace to myself? When I can not take on what I feel I should, I am quick to judge myself and hold myself in contempt for being weak. The chiding does not cease. The whispers of not being enough or being too much rise in volume to the point that I can not hear anything else. Or any One. Instead of recognizing my weaknesses and allowing grace to cover them, I get stuck on the shortcomings and try to fix them. God never says anything about fixing me, does He?

In fact, Paul points to the exact opposite in Corinthians when he shares the Lord's words, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." God wants to use my shortcomings for His glory; to help point others back to Him. So why am I not running around rejoicing in all the stupid mistakes I make? Now there's a funny thought. "I couldn't do it! Woohoo!! God had to show up!" I am weak and I do make mistakes. Jesus never was and never did but He still asked for a pass. My asking for the same thing doesn't add to my list of weaknesses.

Back to the question I asked earlier... did Jesus harp on Himself for wanting to avoid the suffering He knew God was asking Him to endure? I don't think so. He knew He could ask. He knew that, regardless of God's answer, He was willing to do it. He didn't see it as weakness but as a simple question, knowing that God could chose another way to save you and me. His focus was not on Himself but on the God Who would walk through it with Him. His focus was not on the pain to come but on the way God could use the situation to save others.

"You get a 100% of what you don't ask for," is often said in our house. I think that is what it should be like. Accepting what God chooses to do but not being afraid to ask for a pass, as long as my focus is not on what I'm asking for but on the God Who can do anything with the situation. And when I screw it up or believe the whispers that tell me I'm weak, that's when I ask for grace.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

He Never Pleaded His Case

I was reading Isaiah 53 and was struck by a thought... Jesus never pleaded His case. He never defended His actions. He had every right to. He hadn't done anything to warrant what man said to Him or did to Him. 
I am curious why I feel the need to do that for myself. If I feel I'm wronged or misunderstood, don't I run to defend myself? Don't I find others who can tell me if I'm right in a situation? Don't I lean over to my nearest friend to explain myself? Aren't I completely wrecked when someone thinks ill of me?
In writing this I notice something that stand out. Me. I. Myself. My defensiveness all about protecting my image. Jesus knew that His pride and dignity shouldn't matter to Him in the sight of man. It mattered before God. 
"He was oppressed and afflicted,  yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,  and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth." Isaiah 53:7

I've heard those words many times before. Even sung them! But never in this light. Jesus took on so much for us and never said a word. He could have stared the disciples down so many times and said, "I'm carrying your burdens, healing you, putting up with your stupid ideas and limited perspectives, teaching new things, showing you unlimited love, and yet somehow you are whining about ... what? Seriously!? Give me a break! I gave up my heavenly body and throne to come down here as a human... for you, you ungrateful piece of poop."
He endured our stupidity, our hurtful words, and still chose to die for us. (And I don't think that just because I wasn't physically there at the time Jesus was that my words didn't wound Him.) He chose to endure all of it and never try to come out looking like the hero He is. He loved us too much. 
He didn't plead His case, and more often than not, I shouldn't plead mine. If He thought I was worth it, I don't need to right my image in anyone's sight but His. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Come, Ye Disconsolate by Thomas Moore

Come, ye disconsolate, where'er you languish,
Come, at God's altar fervently kneel;
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish--
Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.

Joy of the desolate, Light of the straying,
Hope, when all others die, fadeless and pure,
Here speaks the Comforter, in GOD'S name saying--
"Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot cure."

Go, ask the infidel, what boon he brings us
What charm for aching hearts he can reveal,
Sweet as that heavenly promise Hope sings us--
"Earth has no sorrow that GOD cannot heal."