Ponder the Pain

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, He took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day He will be raised to life!” – (Matthew 20:17-19, NIV)

Jesus was going to Jerusalem. His twelve followers were with Him. While they were walking, He gathered the followers together and spoke to them privately. He said to them, “We are going to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the leading priests and the teachers of the law, and they will say He must die. They will hand Him over to the foreigners, who will laugh at Him and beat Him with whips, and then they will kill Him on a cross. But on the third day after His death, He will be raised to life again.” – (Matthew 20:17-19, ERV)

 

As I opened my Bible application to read the passage for today, I was taken aback as I realized our nearness to Easter, and the significance of the passage presented. It has taken all of my fortitude to simply keep current on what day of the week it is, and recognize which particular date corresponds on the calendar, (with loads of helpful reminders from modern technology) let alone look further forward than a day or two. This passage, however, jolted my head and heart back to the reality of the sacred remembrance of this season. Jesus boldly and willingly went to Jerusalem, knowing what stood before Him. The love within Him was far greater than the human desire to detour away from pain and suffering. Jesus chose the agonizing road, so that we could have life, light, hope, love and freedom in Him. I imagine the days leading up to the cross seemed agonizingly long. He knew what He had to do, yet He could not stop preparing and living and loving, leading up to that point in time, when all of the sin, shame and suffering of the world would be His to bear on our behalf. There are a million directions my mind could go when I ponder the pain He endured for me. This morning, my thought is simply that if He could continue in living and loving, knowing that He would have to endure so much suffering; how much more ought we choose to live and love with hope, knowing that our present circumstances will not remain as they are forever. Though we do not know the end date, and have disappointments and losses and reasons to grieve, we also have reason to live and love and spread hope through extending the very same kindness that Christ has granted to us. May we take pause and ponder the purpose of this season, as we observe new life sprouting and taking root all around us. He is risen, and hope is here.

 

Even in darkness,DSC00009

Light finds its way in;

Buds begin blooming,

As springtime begins.

In our rough seasons,

We are not alone;

Christ’s gone before us,

Each pain He has known.

And just when darkness,

Seemed it would not end;

His death on the cross,

Then He rose again…

From out of the grave,

Three days He had lain;

Christ resurrected,

Hope rose once again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came and chose the painful road on our behalf, because You love so deeply. Thank You that Your life, death and resurrection made the way for life, hope and love for us all. Forgive us for allowing our present darkness to overshadow the light of all that You have done and continue to do for us and in us. Show us how to love those around us in ways that offer love, light, life and hope in the same way that You do for us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You for the incredible sacrifice that You made on our behalf, and the love that carried You down that difficult road. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. – Hebrews 9:28

Peace in Times of Trouble

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – (John 16:33)  

Jesus spoke plainly to the disciples about what was going to happen on the night He was to be betrayed, and let them know why He was leaving and to Whom He was being sent. Despite the darkness that was about to befall the disciples as they would watch their Savior and friend walk the long and agonizing road to the cross alone; Jesus assured them that it would not be the end. His assurance was played out in the most miraculous way ever recorded. Jesus defeated death, after bearing the brunt of all of our sin and shame. He rose again, appeared to many, and then returned to the Father so that He could send His Holy Spirit to be our Counselor. Jesus truly overcame the world, and in Him, we too, can overcome any obstacle that comes our way. His peace is available for us, and His strength in steady supply. To take heart is to place our trust in Him and allow Him to lead us, no matter what season we are walking through. He is faithful and He has already overcome all that lies before us. May we rise up in faith and take heart, for our Heavenly Father is holding us in the hollow of His hand.

Jesus has told us,His Mighty Power

a number of things;

so we may find peace,

that only He brings.

Though we’ll have trouble,

He won’t let us fall;

the Lord’s overcome,

He’s conquered it all.

Let’s rise up in faith,

in Christ, take a stand;

for the Lord is good,

we’re held in His hand.

Strength for the weary,

so we won’t grow faint;

His Spirit in us,

let’s trust in His Name.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give us Your word that tells us what is good and true and lovely. Thank You that when we seek You, we find You and come to know Your peace. Thank You that despite the trouble that we all face, we have the blessed assurance that ultimately, in You, we will overcome. Thank You that we are more than conquerors in You. Forgive us for forgetting how near and powerful You are when the waves begin to overwhelm us. Teach us to slow down, and fix our eyes on You, rather than the storm that surrounds us, so that we may see what really is the truth. Lead us to love others well, so that they too may come to know Your peace and provision in such a way, that they turn to You forever. Be glorified O God, as we take heart in You, learning to lean into Your peace as You lead us to overcome all that comes against us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25