By: Anita Cook
Life is hard. Ministry is messy.
Jesus never shied away from the messy and ran head on into the difficult. He touched the unclean and hung out with the outcasts, thieves, and adulterers. Jesus sought out, lived with, and loved them all, no matter how unfathomable their mess might be. He loved them lavishly, knowing full well that many would betray Him anyway.
Have you ever been betrayed? Blindsided by someone or something? The very last someone or something on earth that you would expect to happen in your family? Me, too.
In the moment, it feels inconceivable; the mere shock of it all seems to halt everything. The initial rationale for me is that he or she would never, that this just cannot be true.
I’ve felt trapped. In a quandary of sorts, not knowing what to believe or how this could be happening. Total disbelief and a searing ache cut to your core.
Questions, so many questions ensue. Why? How could this be? God, couldn’t you have made another way?
The thoughts and emotions are reeling, and the one word that manages to breach my trembling lips is “Jesus.” The tiniest utterance of HIS name ushers in a rush of faith, and I feel Him draw near. His presence, a balm to my aching heart.
YOU could, but You didn’t. Why?
Hampered by finite human thinking, this thwarts my ability to see the intricacies of all that is God and what His ultimate goal could be for this mess. God, how can this be used for good?
I must lead my heart with The Truth. The Truth that I have already hidden there; Truth that has proven itself through trials and miracles time and time again.
Truth found in 1 John 5:4-5 MSG “Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God.”
No matter what comes, how tumultuous, or even hopeless the season may seem, either Jesus is enough, or He’s not. Either God’s Word is all true, or it’s not. It can’t be true in part, or true for you and not for me. It’s all or nothing.
We must then choose. Choose what and who we believe, and walk it out.
Imperfect as it may be, I choose to live, move, and find my strength and being in Him. In His Transcendent Truth.
Friend, what is your truth when life gets sideways, and the trials come? Do you pray it away or pray His will be done?
In God’s timeless love note to us, we discover such truth written in James 1:2-8 MSG, which says to:
2-4 Consider it a sheer gift, friends when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So, don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work, so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
5-8 If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.
In His loving kindness, He extends grace upon grace, and should we seek – should we have eyes to see; we will have the distinct privilege of watching HIM give rise to beauty amongst the ashes. To see a glimpse of what only He can orchestrate to bring glory to HIS name, healing to His children, and the salvation of souls.
I’ll leave you with this excerpt from a poem about Mary and the crucifixion of Jesus by Jeremiah Denton. Jeremiah penned this while a prisoner of war in Vietnam in 1969. The poem is entitled Easter.
Her face shows grief, but not despair,
Her head, though bowed, has faith to spare,
For even now she could suppose
His thorns might somehow yield a rose.
Her life with Him was full of signs
That God writes straight with crooked lines.
Dark clouds can hide the rising sun,
And all seem lost, when all is won!
Father, we thank you that as arduous and overwhelming the storms may seem, we only need to say Your name. To invite you into the middle of whatever we face. To know You are faithful to steady our shaky knees and nerves whether You change us or the circumstances. Father, You make it possible for us to stand in the storm. You, Lord, can carry us through anything. We love you, Abba; and purpose to trust, obey and walk in faith come what may because You alone are forever faithful. In Jesus name, Amen.
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Her story is one filled of restoration, new beginnings and the grace of God as He turned ashes of pain into a beautiful, vibrant ministry. Anita is a mother to three amazing boys and one fur baby. She loves to spend time in the kitchen cooking and feeding a houseful of fellas.