Thursday, February 18, 2016

Where's Jesus When We Need Him?

The woman looked at me, pain in her eyes, "Is there anything you can do to help?"
It was a moment for honesty. "I can't solve the problem or make it go away. But together you and I can find God in this. It's an opportunity for you to draw near to Him. Together, we can find peace. You can have peace with God and peace in this situation." I paused. "Are you willing to give it a try?"

We used to say love makes the world go round but that's not true anymore. Psychology makes the world go round. When a problem or crisis hits we may google it, ask our closest friends, or, if it gets really--I mean "really"--bad, we may talk to the pastor. Then, after days and weeks and months of struggle, we look for professional help and seek a psychologist or psychiatrist. That may or not make a difference.

If you are a person of influence in your church, you have had opportunity after opportunity to speak to broken, hurting hearts. And if you're a person like me, those hearts are not only outside, but inside your home--and your head as well.

Let me challenge each of us to get real about who Jesus is and what He can do. Does He love me? Real, down-to-earth love or love that was written on a page 2,000 years ago and forgotten? Does He know what's going on my life? And does He care? If it's true that He cares, where is He in this mess called life?

You and I can quote rote answers to the questions of life and suffering, but until we have tried Him and found Him true, until we know Him, have studied and questioned and lived Him, we can never place our full weigh and dependence on Him. If you are struggling with not seeing Jesus right now, where you are:

- Pray and ask God to reveal Himself. He wants to be found (Isaiah 55:6)
- Spend time daily reading God's Word and calling out to God. If you don't know where to start, begin with Psalm 42 and continue. Make lists of who God is and what He does as well as proper responses to His wonders, grace and love.
- Praise God. Yes, that's right. Praise Him. Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving. God is worthy--even in our pain. Put Him in His rightful place with your prayer, words and actions.
- Seek help from godly sources. Talk to your pastor, a godly friend, or biblical counselor. Seek books that exalt God and direct your focus to Him in the midst of your suffering.

When we have tried and tested Him ourselves, we are equipped and able to answer those who ask, "What can you do for me right here, right now?" In that moment, we will say, "Not I, but Christ. He is here. He is waiting. He is enough." And in that moment, as we love and give of our lives in response to their pain, Jesus has given, is giving...and loving--through me and you. Will you be His Body, broken for them?

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

"I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me....

"I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.... 

"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 16:32-17:26 NIV)

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