He carried our infirmities

He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:2-5 ESV)

I was reminded today that Jesus understands everything I go through emotionally because He experienced all the feelings, hurts, rejections, etc. I have ever experienced. When I feel despised, depressed, distressed, alone, tired, or abandoned by God, He understands. And because He does, I can approach God with confidence in my weakness, my brokenness, and my fears. I can cry out of despair or anger, and I will never be rejected. This is also what the cross means.

Jesus the Great High Priest Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV)

 

Advertisements

What is certain?

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. Revelation 21:5-6

Few things are trustworthy and sure in this life. When it is hard, people tend to remind us of Romans 8:28 as if it meant that everything will be OK. No, not everything will be OK in this life. At least God never promised such a thing. Life is hard, illogical, uncertain and unfair. But we will stop being angry, frustrated and anxious if we knew what is trustworthy and sure. And we will be able to be still, hope and rest.

We can be sure that God exists and that He rewards those who believe in Him (Hebrews 11:6). We can be sure of His heart as describes in the Holy Scriptures, which can be so different from what our favorite preachers say about.

We can also be sure that Christ came, died and raised from the death and now is at the right hand of God. And that because of Him, of what He has done, one day, we will be with Him and all will be fine (Titus 3: 4-8).

In the meantime things are not that fine. We expect things from God that He never promised. And we don’t understand why He does not give them to us. We expect Him to do it the way we have been taught He should be doing it, the way we think He should work. And we are disappointed.

So many frustrations because we don’t know the truth, we don’t know His truth, we don’t know Him. No wonder why Paul’s Goal was to know Christ (Philippians 3:8-11). In Him are hidden all the secrets of God (Colossians 2:3).  If you really know Christ, you understand life.

I know it is Christmas soon and that everything should be good and beautiful and everyone should be nice to us, especially God. But things don’t work that way, at least not in the Bible, not in God’s world. Life is hard, but we can be certain that after this life everything will be fine.

Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us; 
2 Timothy 2:10-12

Asking, trusting in God’s mercy

And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly. (Matthew 15:21-28)

What in the faith of that woman was great? I asked myself that question many times. I don’t know if I have the answer, but there is something she had that is indeed great: she knew that she was unworthy, and she came to receive mercy, trusting in God’s faithfulness.

She came calling Jesus Lord and Son of David. She acknowledged His power and His compassion, basically telling Him: “You have the power and the good will to help me so I cry for mercy.” When Jesus rejected her at first, she answered by asking for help. Then He called her “dog” and she said: “Yes, I am a dog, but I am your dog so I am expecting your mercy.” She never doubted of God’s goodness.

Generally, we don’t persevere as she did. When God seemed to push us away, we are desperate and it becomes difficult to pray, or at least to pray for that specific thing we want so much. Or we are frustrated as if God owes us something.  Faith believes that God has the power to do anything and rests on His mercy to ask Him again and again, trusting that His mercy will never fail.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

For stormy days

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:22-33

Have you ever been frustrated with God because He did not come through for you after many prayers? Do you remember those days when you just did not understand why God, who is Almighty and good, left you in the midst of difficult, painful circumstances? Here is something that may help us to trust and be still in the midst of storms.

So Jesus sent the disciples on the boat. They were there not because of pride or disobedience but because of their submission, while Jesus stayed, dismissing the crowds, and then praying. While He was praying, the disciples were facing a storm and contrary winds. He did not calm the storm, but kept praying (Luke 22: 31-32). And even when He came to them, He did not calm the storm and the winds. He walked on the sea, but did not calm it. He spoke to them, comforting them, but did not calm it. Yet He was there with them. Difficult circumstances do not mean that God has abandoned or forgotten you. Difficult circumstances mean that God waits for you to come to Him in the midst of the storm. He wants your faith to be great.

When faith is enough

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. (John 5:1-9)

There was that man at the pool who had no faith, no even faith like a grain of mustard. He stood beside the pool everyday with no faith that one day he would be the first to get in and be healed. When Jesus asked him if he wanted to be healed, he did not even say yes. In his heart were resentment, bitterness and something that only Jesus could see: despair.

In the Gospels Jesus often healed people because of their faith. Their faith made them well (Matthew 9:22; Mark 10:52; Luke 7:50; 8:48; 18:42). But Jesus looked beyond this man’s inability to believe. He looked at the despair that brought him at the pool despite everything. Indeed despite everything he had hope. He had hope that maybe one day things would be different. He had no assurance of what he hoped for (Hebrews 11:1) but he dreamed of that day. And one day Jesus stepped in and made everything different.

Jesus didn’t ask him to believe. He didn’t even pay attention at his answer. He just healed him because he needed to be healed. Jesus knew that by his own, he would never be able to make it. Jesus saw his despair and his hope and helped him.

When everything seems too impossible, when it seems like we spend our days contemplating others’ successes while we are failing again and again, when we don’t know how to get into the water at time to be healed, there is still hope. We just have to show up, to be there where we can find healing and to wait: to wait for Jesus’ compassionate eyes to see our despair; to wait for Him to come to us and to heal us. Sometimes waiting on God is more than faith. When we wait for Him to pass by and touch us, we are saying:” I am just a broken human in need of a merciful savior to help me even when I don’t know how to ask for help and even less to receive it. I don’t have faith, but I hope in your unfailing love.” And as God delight in those who hope in his love, we can be sure that He would come and take care of us.

” His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” (Psalm 147:10-11)

Single and desperate

Have you ever felt hopeless? Have you ever felt that you have to find a solution right now? Have you ever thought that if you don’t do something, if you don’t take a step, your life will be over ? Lot’s daughters did. They were desperate. They wanted to preserve their family line and there was no man around to lie with them. They needed to act, to find a solution. They decided to sleep with their father. He was the only man around. They acted and they got the children they wanted. Genesis 19: 30-38
Why were they so desperate? Why am I sometimes so desperate? Is it  really because there is no solution to my problem? Or is it because I want my solution, a solution I find normal?  Lot’s daughter wanted so much to be like everyone else that they didn’t look far. Genesis 19: 31 They could have asked their father to find partners for them. Abraham family wasn’t too far away. Only, they didn’t. What if he had said no? What if the men from Abraham’s family didn’t want to be with them? What if…? They took no chances.  They so wanted to be normal. They were willing to pay the price to get it their way.
I feel desperate when I want my life to be “ as is the custom all over the earth.” I want to have a normal life: a husband, children, the job…. the right one. I spent my week envying one of my co-worker. She has everything I wish I had: the career I thought I should have, children, husband, shape, blue eyes, fair-hair…
I was looking for solutions to be more like her. However, the more I was looking the more things were getting complicated. I was confused and desperate until God told me gently : ” A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.Proverbs 14:30
He explained me that my peace was gone because I stopped looking at the Prince of peace. My problem was not my issues, though they are real. My problem was that I wanted peace “as the world gives.John 14:27  I wanted my life to be ” as is the custom all over the earth.” I blamed my godly choices. I thought I became christian too young. Fortunately, God reminded me that His way is always the best. So even if my life looks strange, even if I am different, may His will be done. Always.