Monday, September 16, 2013

Merciful Monday: It Is What It Is

I have come to find that one major theme throughout the Bible is acceptance. We are advised to accept things that are quite difficult to accept such as the fact that the Father (God), Son (Jesus), and Holy Spirit are one (“I and the Father are one.”- John 10:30,Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.”- 1 Timothy 3:16) and that we all will die but may one day live again (“All of us must die eventually. Our lives are like water spilled out on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. But God does not just sweep life away; instead, he devises ways to bring us back when we have been separated from him.” 2 Samuel 14:14).

If you’ve been through anything you know that sometimes things just are the way that they are. Although it sounds depressing to say: certain things just cannot be changed, and even though these types of things often make no sense in our human minds, we have to accept them as God intended them to be. This is part of relinquishing our control over our own plans to the far greater plan of the Father.

Jesus understood this. Today, we read the story of Jesus being arrested by the Roman authorities, an arrest which ultimately led to his crucifixion. Despite the fact that Jesus could have uttered a word and called down angels to take out the arresters or defeated them himself in one fell swoop, he did not do so because he had accepted the fact that he would be arrested. He stopped Peter from fighting on his behalf because he knew who he was and what he had to do.

“Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11). It sounds pretty crazy doesn’t it, that someone would stop a friend from fighting for them and willingly go off to their death. The first time I read that when I was younger I thought, “I knew Jesus was a nice, peaceful guy but that is a bit much!” Now I realize that Jesus knew that he was our Savior and that as such he had to sacrifice himself in order to give us an opportunity to one day live with him in Heaven. That’s why he thrust his wrists towards the guards that constrained him, that’s why he carried a weighted cross up a steep hill, that’s why he took 40 lashes without a word, that’s why he wore a crown of thorns, that’s why he allowed people to call him every single nasty name they could think of, that’s why he ultimately died a gruesome death. He accepted all of that.

But before impeding Peter from fighting and willingly going off with the Roman soldiers to his death, Jesus did something invaluable. He prayed. We read yesterday about how he prayed for hours, to the point where all of the disciples that were supposed to be watching out for him had fallen asleep. So to me this means that when we are confronted with something that is difficult for us to accept, we have to consult God for guidance, wisdom, strength and understanding in order to do what we need to do. I know what you’re thinking; no we shouldn’t always accept things in life as they are. That’s why we need to need to consult him FIRST to know when to stand and when to sit down, when to fight and when to concede so that we can say “it is what it is” in the right moment, fully accepting whatever it is that we need to do.

 It reminds me of the common quoted Serenity Prayer. Please pray it with me :)

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Merciful Mondays: Jael

For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors.” Deuteronomy 4:31

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