Hope & Encouragement / Light & Laughter

Strength for the Journey

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Darkness is present. Whether from matters of the heart, health concerns, job disruptions, or loss, we all have drunk from the cup of sorrow. For those of us in the midst of such pain, there is comfort in knowing that we can carry our burdens to God in prayer. I’ve learned however, that carrying our burdens to God doesn’t necessarily mean that they disappear. I remember in recent times, feeling upset and disheartened because God had not granted me the desires of my heart. In my despair, I heard God’s voice in the quiet stillness of the morning. Simply, He stated: “you need strength for the journey”.

Walking in Darkness

Such a response was not the answer I wanted. I think many could agree, that often we aren’t interested in strength for the journey. Why not? Because the implication with this type of request is that we are accepting the path we are called to walk, even when that means we’re walking in darkness. To counter this, we pray to God for Him to change our trajectories. We come to the throne requesting new jobs, to be healed from sickness, to receive financial blessings… and so much more. The list could span this entire devotional and it would barely scratch the surface. And we’re told to do this – to ask God for the desires of our hearts, but sometimes, our trajectories don’t shift.

Sometimes, we are called to walk down paths, that if left with a choice, we would never take. Submission to God’s will feels entirely too painful as the waves of sorrow crash into our souls. The mind starts to wander as we imagine alternative versions of our lives. Yet as some song lyrics so poignantly stated – wishing only wounds the heart. Our daydreams cannot erase our realities, as we are left to contend with what is. We can try to outrun the path we are placed on, or keep ourselves busy enough to not notice, but we are here. And whether or not we like it, we are all called to reckon with this world of sin and the times that God has chosen to not intervene.

The Garden of Gethsemane

Intervention is a debatable topic. When God chooses not to intervene, and it is to our favor – we understand. We see this when considering the crucifixion of Christ. To save us, Christ made a selfless choice to come down to this world and become the sacrificial lamb. To some, this is quite far-fetched. Nevertheless, if we take a close look at the ways of this world, we recognize that there is always a price to be paid for our actions – whether now or later. Christ paid the ultimate price for us, and for that we are grateful.

However, if we consider this journey from Christ’s perspective, it was a time filled with pain.  From Satan’s attempts to cause Jesus to sin to the frequent rejection by His own people, Christ’s journey was full of paths we would never want to take, including His manner of death.  As Christ neared the close of His ministry, and subsequent crucifixion, Jesus knew He would need additional strength for the journey. He sought it out as He went to the Garden of Gethsemane, with His disciples, to seek God’s presence.  We read:

And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 22:41-44

In such a personal moment, we see Christ feeling overwhelmed with the task that lay ahead. One could say that Christ made the choice to come to this world, but it was this world’s choice to crucify Him. Crucifixion is harsh in nature, a painful and slow process, intentionally cruel every step of the way. In His distress, Christ asked if there were other options, but in faith, also resigned Himself to God’s will. From this situation, we can see that God does not always intervene by removing our cup. We may not always understand “the why”, but Christ showed us we’re allowed to feel the emotions that come with carrying such burdens.

God’s Comfort

In that same garden, after Christ committed Himself to God’s will, something beautiful happened. An angel was sent to give Christ strength for the journey ahead. What’s even more comforting is that this same blessing is available to us. I know, however, that this blessing can feel like a curse. We don’t want to have to need this blessing because we have no interest in carrying the associated burden. Moreover, without understanding, it’s hard to accept what is happening, but in faith, we must. For God tells us in Isaiah 55:8: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

We can look for an explanation, but one will not always come. Such a scenario is a hard one to live with when you feel as though the depths of your sorrow have no end. In such situations, the devil will try use our sorrow against us, attempting to convince us that God is not merciful or loving. In our despair, we might think that God does not truly love us, or that maybe He doesn’t exist. Yet there is no peace in aligning ourselves with such thoughts – only further darkness. So cry out to the Lord. Shed your tears of worry, fear, and pain, so He can lead you back to the light.

In closing…

I want to say that I do not intend to trivialize the depths of the deepest sorrows, or how difficult the choice is at times to choose God. Yet this I know, that we have a Savior who is empathetic to our needs because He’s been there. Christ knows what it feels like to have a burden so heavy that it brings you to a state of agony. He also knows what it’s like to face the darkness, and by faith, to overcome. With grace and compassion, Christ will meet us in the depths of our despair to give us strength for the journey. There is hope in knowing that there is no path we are called to walk, where God is not there.

#GodBless from #LovesAnAction

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