I Don’t Have the Strength – But…

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

When he rose from prayer and went back…      Luke 22:39-45 (NIV)

I received two calls yesterday from people who are just at the end of their rope. They are tired, overwhelmed, and ready to give up. The irony was not lost on me that they called me because that is the way that I feel too often these days.

Because of copyright issues, I cannot post the lyrics to a song that comes to my mind, expresses my feelings very well, and then leaves me with the comfort and strength to keep going one more day. It’s called Take My Life by Third Day. I hope you will stop and take two minutes and eighteen seconds to listen to it before you go on. 

Third Day was not a group that I was familiar until my son, James, bought the CD with this song on it. I didn’t really listen to this song until after he died. He never talked about what he was thinking when he bought this but James wasn’t complicated in his theology. His relationship with Jesus was pretty straight forward. He said that “God is in the miracle business” and so he knew that God was able to heal him of cancer. He also knew that God did not always do that.

Jesus was God. He was also fully human. He knew what a Roman crucifixion was about. Maybe He had a divine revelation and ‘saw’ what was coming to Him as Judas and the church leaders made their way with the Roman guard through the streets toward the Garden. However Jesus knew, Luke, the physician, describes the magnitude of the effect on Jesus by graphically describing his physical manifestation.

I have had some horrific times of despair that drove me to my knees, tears streaming down my face, and sweat pouring off me. I didn’t sweat blood.

Please take from me – my life – when I don’t have the strength to give it away to you, Jesus. – Third Day

We are not promised that we will know the full picture of our lives. Jesus taught us to pray for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). Jesus told us to stay close to Him because the world would hate us. We might be killed in the name of God, and yet we should remember that He gave us The Comforter and should rest in that peace because He had overcome the world (John 14-16). Minutes before Jesus was arrested, He was praying for you and for me (John 17). We must be important to Him if He prayed for us.

When I reach this place of despair, I am trying to “figure out” too much. Many people might say that it is crazy or not responsible to just move from day to day. I would love to know God’s plan for the rest of my life. I would love it if He would tell me where I am going to be in the next year, the next month, even the next week! I only know today. And He promises He will give me what I need – for today. I believe Jesus showed me how to build my faith. He showed me in the most horrific way that when all seems lost on those dark Fridays – hang on – Resurrection Day is coming!

I’m taking time right now to stop and pray. I asking God to take my life. I don’t have the strength for today, but Jesus does. I don’t have the wisdom for today, but Jesus does. The problems are a mess. Jesus is in the miracle business so He knows about messes. So I am going to take the mustard seed size faith in Him that I have and I am going to ask the Holy Spirit to remind me of all those other times, in my life, the lives of others I know, and in the Bible, when God came through in a mess and made something good of it. And then, I’ll get up from prayer and go back … today.

I am grateful that those two people called on me yesterday. Jesus taught me and encouraged me. I pray they received the same from Jesus.

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