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Gethsemane: Code For... "I don't want to do this."
We've uttered that statement frequently in our lives.
This time of year, there's a great deal of emphasis on Jesus. As we prepare for Resurrection Sunday, we read and remind ourselves just how this whole thing came to be: hope, salvation and reunion with God. It didn't just happen.
And a large part of it depends on Gethsemane.
Yes, Jesus is amazing and loving. But He still had a night of decision. Hours away from being crucified, there was a real moment; He didn't want to do it.
I love Winston Churchill's sentiment:
"If you're going through hell, keep going."
Life is tough. Sooner or later, we'll experience a trying situation which feels like hell. It isn't actual hell, thank God. Nevertheless, the power of that notorious situation/trauma makes us feel tortured with pain, despair and hopeless evidence. Eating disorders, addictions, compulsions, loss and grief are just a few examples of things which can feel like hell, if, indeed, torture is its calling card.
It's painful and almost impossible to see future, life, possibility or God. We can, instead, much more easily see ourselves as failures, weak, forgotten and ruined. It's, therefore, inevitable we come to a screeching halt; we stop in the mire and can only feel ourselves sinking…down to where? Greater depths of hell and torture?
But that's not God's truth about us. Even in the middle of hopelessness, God is there… living… loving… working…
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" Jeremiah 32:27
It can be tempting to believe that
"...and that's when I became a warrior!"
I recently caught this statement trending on social media. It's no surprise why it has caught on. With so much suffering in the world, taking on a fighting perspective can be empowering.
No matter what we've experienced in our lives, God has placed within each of us a warrior spirit. He knows full well of our challenges, setbacks, relapses, pain and loss. He also knows of our mighty purpose as well.
And it is precisely that reason why the warrior emerges. I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." It's that kind of thing which attaches itself to our every breath. It's that thing which does not give up, no matter how many times we feel we cannot go on.
Whatever you have survived in your life - loss, trauma, addiction, abuse, extraordinary pain- God wants you to do something with it, in spite of it.
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9
He wants to turn those ashes into beauty (Isaiah 61:1-3).
But He doesn't stop there. He doesn't just want you to fight for fighting's sake. He wants to give you the Victory as well!
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57
God wants you to experience overcoming that enemy. He didn't say it would be easy, instant or painless. But He has assured us that Victory is ours.
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4
And that is often what awakens the warrior within us, often, without our own awareness. Some call it "instinct." But again, it's "that thing" which keeps going when everything and everyone else tells us to give up. It's God given.
And because it is God given,
Now that I am ill, why does God seem to be so far away?
Regardless of how you feel, if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then He is right beside you. In Hebrews 13:5, we are reminded of a promise that God made,
"Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you."
Illness can often affect our emotions, and it is possible at times to feel very alone. You must believe that God will never break His promises to you.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10
Another wonderful promise, the best one, I think, is found in Revelation 21:4:
"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
by Dale & Juanita Ryan | see: Part 1
We resist getting help
In spite of the abundance of God's love and grace and the many ways in which love and grace are available to us, we do not easily reach out for the help we need. Even when we have acknowledged our need for help, we may find ourselves hesitating, finding excuses, resisting. Resistance to getting help is often the result of a mixture of fear and despair and shame.
It can be frightening to get help. In the process we feel vulnerable and exposed. Jim's Dad had made cutting remarks about him all his life. Jim was so accustomed to hearing that he was lazy and stupid and irresponsible that every time he shared in his support group, he expected to hear these same hurtful comments in response. Even though people didn't respond this way, Jim imagined that everyone must be privately thinking these things about him. As a result, he would sometimes begin to share only to freeze with fear and find himself unable to talk.
by Dale & Juanita Ryan
See: Part 2 | Part 3
The God of the Bible is a God who saves and heals. The Bible is clear about this: He will deliver the needy who cry out, he will rescue them from oppression and violence. Psalm 72: 12,14) When we see our need, acknowledge our inability to save ourselves, and cry out, God delivers us. God rescues us from oppression and violence. Whether it is the oppression and violence of our compulsions and addictions or the oppression and violence of abuse and neglect, God delivers us and heals us. God is powerful enough and loving enough to deliver us from all of the oppression and violence we face.
This is the good news proclaimed in Scripture. And it is the basis for our hope on the recovery journey. We cannot save ourselves. Or heal ourselves. But God can. And God will.
Sound simple? It turns out to be anything but simple. There are several reasons for this. First, we find it hard to believe that God is
When I was diagnosed with cancer it was as if God had slammed me over the head with a 2x4. I was stunned -- stopped dead in my tracks. I was emotionally and physically numb. It took months to come to terms with what it actually meant. How was this going to affect me? my relationships? my loved ones? What about the future? Do I even have a future? What will happen to my loved ones after I am gone? Questions whirled around inside my head.
Chemo has not been successful There is not much anyone can do yet I can clearly see that God is in the process of teaching me some important things.
How can I overcome health-related discouragement?
A physical disability is another avenue through which Satan can attack your mind. He can whisper thoughts of anger, confusion, disappointment, and worthlessness in your ear until you begin to claim those feelings as your own. But, the Lord has a different plan in mind for you. His plans is to work ALL things, in your life, together for His good purposes (Rom. 8:28).
Acts 17:28: For in him we live and move and have our being.
"Every woman on my dad's side of the family has died of breast cancer except me," a lady told me as I drove her to the airport.
I gulped before I answered. She was a miracle of God's grace and mercy. I wondered what work God has in store for her on earth.
I told her I'm also a miracle of God's grace and mercy. Twelve years ago I went through breast cancer treatment. Prior to my diagnosis, two cousins had died of breast cancer. My work on earth is not yet finished either.
My medical oncologist who oversaw my chemotherapy treatment had lymphoma, but she was fully alive and fully involved in the treatment of all of her patients.