When I last wrote in this blog I dealt with anxiety and depression from John 12:27 where Jesus said, “Now is my heart troubled.” While there is great encouragement for everyone in this prayer of Jesus, He was addressing something far more ominous than the anxieties that plague modern societies. Jesus stood face to face with His crucifixion where He would bear all the wickedness, selfishness, perversion, and cruelty of humankind. He was not just discouraged, He was overwhelmed.
I thank God that none of us will ever face such an overwhelming circumstance. However, many of us have been in situations where we were overwhelmed. Believers in many parts of the world today are called on to be faithful in ordeals that seem to have no resolution. And I strongly suspect that Millions more of us will face such such difficulties in our lifetimes.
In this passage Jesus gives us strong consolation. Look with me again at John 12:27-28.
“Now is my heart troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. ‘Father, glorify your name!’ Then a voice came from heaven: 'I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’”
Here Jesus shows us how to deal with the crises that we will face.
First, cling prayerfully to the promised purpose of God. We often find ourselves in situations where we do not understand what God is doing. But He has promised that there is a purpose, in your life, and in this world. Jesus certainly knew the purpose for his crucifixion. But none of His disciples understood, even though they had been told. I suspect people walked away from that horror saying, “How could God ever bring any good from this?”
In the midst of the ordeal pray fervently for God's glory. For most of us this will have to be a matter of growth. We pray for our wants and needs. But the desire for the glory of God needs to be developed as a constant in the life of believers.
Finally, remember the assurance of the presence of God. When the Lord told Moses to go back to Egypt to lead His people out of captivity, Moses asked, “Who am I to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” The Lord answered, “I will be with you.” And then He said something very strange. This will be the sign that I have sent you. When you’ve brought the people out of Egypt you will serve Me on this mountain. Moses was going to have to remember that he met God at the burning bush until he got through the ordeal and could say, “Yes God was with me all the way.”
Jesus did not face the cross with the presence of His Father. That was the point. He endured the separation from His Father that you and I have earned. But we do not face trials without the presence of God. At the end of the Great Commission Jesus said, “I will be with you always.” Even when He is not dramatically showing us His presence, we can remember what He has promised.