FAITH UNDER PRESSURE... WHEN HOPE SEEMS LOST
"When you can't see the hand of God, trust the heart of God." -Pastor Alli Munsey
Have you ever felt like giving up? Have you endured a season feeling as though you are not seeing the hand of God move in your life? Many of us have felt this from time to time. Feeling abandoned often cultivates a spirit of fear and loneliness, or bitterness if we are not careful. Jesus felt that way too when he was on the cross facing his final moments.
“And at about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” (Matthew 27:46 NKJV)
This very moment was the apex of Jesus' destiny as man. What if he had succumbed to the offense that placed him on the cross and buckled under the weight of this calling that only he could fulfill? If he had given up, we would not have been saved.
As much as he may have wanted off the cross, Jesus pressed forward to the prize of the upward call of God (Philippians 3:14), and "...cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.” (Matthew 27:50 NKJV).
The definition of the word "yield" is to give forth, or produce by a natural process, or in return for cultivation. Jesus freely gave his Spirit. He was fully in control, even on the cross, and he chose to trust his Father’s plan in that moment. Jesus made the decision to remain faithful because of his unconditional love and not because of fear or weakness.
Every moment of his life led to this natural next step. He yielded his life.
Jesus was cultivated by his Father for this moment. Cultivation means to prepare and work on, in order to raise crops. For Jesus, this wasn’t a defeat or a display of weakness; it was the culmination of what God prepared him for.
God is cultivating our lives as well. Christine Caine says, "He's preparing you for the thing he has prepared for you." We may misinterpret difficult seasons as punishments or like God has abandoned us, which disrupts our peace. The opposite is in fact true—God has been preparing us for this very moment. What lies on the other side of our difficult season is more than we can imagine.
In all of these things, we can have faith like Jesus did that we are safely in God’s hands. “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG). In those difficult times our heavenly Father is growing our capacity to not only be fruitful, but remain fruitful when the promised harvest comes.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7 NKJV).
QUESTIONS FOR CONTEMPLATION
- What might Jesus have been thinking and feeling in his final moments?
- What am I facing that challenges my faith?
- Am I willing to let go of my fear in exchange for His strength?
- Thank Jesus for all that you have, even if you are facing a difficult time.
- Pray for a refreshed spirit, filled with great expectations and renewed passion.
- Tell God that you trust him, even when you don’t understand.