“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.’ John 12:27 (NIV)
The Shepherd Who is gathering, teaching, and caring for His beloved flock is brought close to His dark hour. He knows that His life will soon be brutally taken from Him. He knows the hatred, the evil and the separation which is about to befall them. He knows full well what pain and suffering is heading our Way. He feels the sorrow. His heart is weighed down. He is the One Person Who could do something to avoid the rough time ahead. But what does He say? What does He teach us as He faces His darkest hours? Does He show by example how to look above it? Does He make Himself the One to Follow? Does He arm Himself first, so that we too can take heart when our days of difficulty come? Does He show us that even the bad days may fit into God´s great plan? Might He know and guide us even in the face of our adversity? Is He preparing us to meet our dark hour with our head up and our sight on God? Can we see that it may be for this that we too have come to this hour?
Jesus had His moment where the weight of the world fell on His shoulders. He persevered. He remained faithful to God. He willingly stepped up to His task. He sacrificed Himself so that the Father could have His children restored unto Him. We may never be able to fathom the heaviness He lived through to achieve His mission. But He triumphed! He paid the heavy price! And His strength was found in God! He was able to face it because He knew the reason He had to face His difficulties. He knew that God was at work! Do we?
Would we be better prepared to face our difficult times if we knew that we needed to pass through them? If we could look past the pain and suffering that still lies ahead of us, would it somehow make those times more bearable? If we could focus enough upon God, would it leave us less time to make big of the things that are threatening us today? Can we see that good could still come out of our pain, if we can use it to bring us closer to the One we love?
Our tendency is to avoid pain. We would rather skirt around those dark hours that life has prepared for us. But for all our efforts, do we really think we can live out our earthly lives without ever having to struggle? Is it possible that those dark hours could be there for a reason? Is there ground that could be gained through them with God? Could we lean on our Saviour a little more? Could we turn more often to the Lord? Could we become more dependent upon Him? Do we know we need Him more when the going is not so easy? Should we learn to see that God is near even when it looks like we are traveling through our darkest hour? Should we pray that He keeps us safe in those difficult times? Should we ask Him to hold us close to Him? Can embrace His outstretched hand and take confidence that is near and will lead us through our trouble and strife? Or will we choose to miss this opportunity to strengthen our relationship? Will we plead to avoid all that and remain safe from those dark hours?
Dear Jesus, we cannot always see what God is working on in our lives. We only see the bad that mounts up against us. We feel the pain that threatens us. Please help us to be like You. Please help us focus on our Lord. Let us draw closer to You and take courage. Let us step forward wherever You may lead us regardless of the adversity. We do not ask that You remove our suffering but that through it we may find ourselves closer to God!