This weekend I had the opportunity to visit the room where the Last Supper took place, walk through the Garden of Gethsemane, visit Caiaphas’ house and then walk down the Via Dolorosa. To walk in the final footsteps of Jesus before His crucifixion can be a moving experience if you can block out all the chaos around you. As I went to each place, I tried to imagine the emotions of Jesus in each place and to feel the tension He must have felt knowing He was leaving the Passover meal a free man to cross the Kidron Valley, but would return a prisoner. It’s a very sobering journey.
As I entered the Church of All Nations at the foot of the Mount of Olives where the Garden of Gethsemane is, I walked around the outskirts of the sanctuary instead of down the middle. The purple glass in the shape of a cross makes sure that the room is lit, but remains dim. I went to the front where there is a rock protruding out of the foundation of the church. I stood outside the barrier as I watched people lay on it and weep. On the barrier were pieces of paper in different languages. I walked around until i found one in English. It had a portion of the Gospel of Luke that ended in Luke 22:46. It said, “Jesus went to the disciples who were sleeping and said, ‘Why are you asleep? Wake up and pray that you won’t be tested.’”
Are you and I like the disciples? Are we awakened to the things God is asking us to do or are we asleep? Do we realize that the moment God has us in right now is in preparation for greater things? God’s plan for you is always good. It may involve some suffering and times of emotional stress. There are times we will walk in darkness so we can share God’s light. The only way to achieve God’s desired outcome in our lives is to pray like Jesus prayed in the darkest time of His life. Luke 22:44 says, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup [of divine wrath] from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done” (AMP). Submitting to God’s will, even in suffering and pain always yields the greatest outcome.
When I was younger and I wanted to take a trip, I would break out my Rand McNally map and plot a course. I would take the map with me so I could follow along or use it if I got lost. Today, most of us use an app with GPS to get us where we’re going. We plug in an address and off we go blindly following wherever it leads. There have been times when I questioned where it was taking me and I thought I knew better. I was wrong. Even now, I question it, but I’ve learned to give it the benefit of the doubt because it sees what’s coming ahead and knows what path to take.
After David was anointed king, I’m sure he thought he knew the path God was going to take to get him to the palace. It wasn’t that long until the king called and invited him to the palace without knowing David would be the next king. Then the path took an unexpected turn. David was on the run and had to leave the country God said he would rule over. He found himself living in caves instead of in the luxury of palaces. He didn’t question God’s path to get him there even though it was a different path than he would have chosen.
From the cave, he penned this in Psalms 142:3, “When my spirit was overwhelmed and weak within me [wrapped in darkness], You knew my path” (AMP). No matter how dark that cave was, he trusted that God knew his path. That’s something we can all learn from. Sometimes God’s path will lead you through some dark time, but even though you walk through the valley of the shadow, God will be with you. He uses those times to develop us, to prove His faithfulness and to have us bring light into the darkness. Don’t turn from the path God is leading you down. He knows what’s ahead and is taking you on the best path for your future.
Photo by Enrique Alarcon on Unsplash
A friend of mine told me a story about how when he was a young man, his boss came to him and told him the company had been bought out. He said the new company was going to lay off most of the old employees, but not to worry because he would protect him. When the layoffs came, everything happened just as the boss said. Then a few days later, the boss came back and apologized. He had to let him go. It turns out his boss let go of the new owner’s nephew and was forced to hire him back.My friend was upset. He didn’t have a degree, and his wife was pregnant with their first child.
In moments like these, we normally cry out to God, “What are you doing?” Have you ever had one of those times? Everything points to God allowing you to be crushed, broken and ruined. We wonder where God is and why we have to go through it. The ten sons of Jacob who went to Egypt for food had one of those moments. They had gone to purchase food, but didn’t recognize their own brother they had sold into slavery. They bowed to him just as Joseph had dreamed years earlier.
Joseph didn’t let on that he was their brother. He held one in prison to make sure they came back. Then he had their money returned to them in their bags of grain. When they were a day away, one noticed it. Genesis 42:28 says, “‘Look!’ he exclaimed to his brothers. ‘My money has been returned; it’s here in my sack!’ Then their hearts sank. Trembling, they said to each other, ‘What has God done to us?’” (NLT) They couldn’t see that God was actually blessing them.
That brings me back to my friend. Because he got fired, he found a job with a major company. He then got a degree and moved up in the company. He was able to provide for his family more than he would have at his old job. What looked like an end was really a beginning. What looked like a curse was really a blessing. If you’re going through something you don’t understand, don’t be quick to judge God. Give Him time to work things out for your good. He has a pretty good record of blessing His people.
Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash