One of the saddest comments I hear every single day are the words “no one understands”. Those feelings of utter despair, hopelessness, and loneliness are often heightened during the holiday season. We continue with our traditions while the stress of the holidays lay like a weight on our shoulders. We work hard to please the young ones. We hunt eggs, eat chocolate, have family meals and unpack baskets of goodies, all the while hiding a mountain of despair under a pasted smile.
We try to remind ourselves of the joy this season should bring us, but instead we are often left with guilt because that joy seems so unreachable.
I wonder if maybe we are looking in the wrong places for that joy. Now, I don’t mean that eggs and baskets and family gatherings should be pushed to the wayside. Not at all.
I do think however that often we passively look to the cross, we glance at the resurrection and we truly do appreciate all that Jesus did for us, but He was Jesus, and that was then. We are told that what He did was enough, that we can leave our sin, our guilt, our shame and we can now have joy, peace, and hope. So if this is the case then where did it all go? Why does it seem so hard to attain? (Photo Via Pixabay)
Maybe we just don’t dig deep enough.
Yes the cross is enough, Yes Jesus’s resurrection is enough, but No it wasn’t all. It wasn’t. There was more that we miss, more we need to look at in order to receive all that He intended for us to have.
Let me show you the more today.
In Luke 22:44 KJV we see Jesus in the garden praying about the upcoming cross he was soon to bear and “being in agony, he prayed more earnestly, Then his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.” Our Jesus was in agony as he cried out to God. The bible says that he openly asked God to take this burden from him. (See Matthew 26:39) Can you believe that even our precious Jesus had times in his life when what he was facing was just too much?
So Jesus, being just like us, does exactly what we do when we are desperate. He asks his friends for help. He asks them to simply stay awake and support him in prayer. Just like us, they can’t see his troubles, they can’t feel his pain, and exhausted from their own day, they sleep. (Matthew 26:40)
Later we are shown a horrifying picture of Jesus beaten and nailed to an old rugged cross. Dying he suffered unspeakable pain just for you and just for me. Yet there is one more detail that needs to be mentioned here. In the last moments of Jesus’s life on this Earth, we see him cry out to God one more time and what He says breaks my whole heart. Jesus has done everything asked of him. He has given all he could give and in his last moments we hear him cry “… My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Photo Via Pixabay)
You see, Jesus dying on that cross is awesome and amazing and cruel and terrible and he did it all for us. Did you also know that he was so totally a man who in his weakness and humanness he didn’t think he could handle it? Did you ever really think about the little details of this story? That Jesus was so alone, so scared, so desperate and no one came to his aid. No one supported him, no one helped him. His best friends slept. His prayers didn’t seem to be heard and His God, Our God, seemed to turn his back on him.
I love this, not because of what Jesus suffered, but because when I look at these little moments; when I look at what Jesus went through I KNOW He understands. He understands my pain. He understands when I don’t think I can handle what life has thrown at me. He gets that I’m only human. He’s been there, He’s done that, and He knows. (Photo Via Pixabay)
Hebrews 12:2 says “… for the joy set before him he endured the cross…” Jesus endured the physical pain, He endured the mental despair, He endured the loneliness; Jesus endured it all. And he did it because of the Joy that would come.
Today, when you think about the Easter story, when you think about what Jesus did for you, look just a bit deeper and receive just a bit more. Yes He died, Yes He lives, Yes He understands, and Yes He will get you through everything. And Yes, just like Him, your joy will come. (Photo Via Pixabay)