Reading: Hebrews 4:15-16, Philippians 4:8-9, Romans 8:32-39, Psalm 23
It is hard to imagine the kind of tension and heaviness Jesus must have felt in the days prior to His crucifixion. The tension surrounding Jesus and the High Priests in and around the temple was building and growing until it was felt by everyone in Jerusalem. By week’s end they all would turn against Him, with the exception of His closest followers. The Romans used their control to oppress and intimidate the people, but the Jewish Priests and Sanhedrin leaders used their power for corruption and manipulation of the people. Now that is tension from every side. Looking ahead to the night of the Passover in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed so intently that His capillaries burst! The Bible says His sweat became like drops of blood that fell to the ground. I believe this was Jesus’ first shedding of blood for the tension of our obstacles, stresses, anxieties, and fears. Scripture reveals that we have a High Priest who not only sympathizes with us, but always intercedes for us.
We all have times of difficulty, stress and anxiety in our lives. And, in those times (at least for us), we feel very alone - that is tension. There are times where circumstances make us feel like everything and everyone is against us - that is tension. Of course it is then that the enemy likes to throw those “what if” thought bombs at us. Things like, “what if I lose my job?,” “what if my spouse leaves me?”, “what if I can’t pay my bills?,” “what if my health fails me?” “what if things don’t work out?” Sound familiar?
Yet somehow we try to exist happily and normally in that tension, fear and doubt. This is not God’s plan for you! In those times we must learn to trust, believe and have faith His Spirit is there revealing His truth for us to embrace, absorb, and find rest. Remember, all of the tension and difficulty of the above is nothing compared to what He went through for us - and He will reveal to us why He did!
Fifteen years ago I had a stroke that paralyzed my left side, and left me unable to speak. I could not swallow any liquids, not even my own saliva. Carol was also 9 months pregnant at the time in high risk protocol. The doctors told her that I may not make it, and if I did, I would be unable to ever care for myself. I was lying in ICU thinking of how everything was against us, and then the Lord spoke to my heart and said “think on just, pure, good and excellent things”. So, in our greatest moment of tension, that is exactly what I did. We had believers praying for us across the country, and encouraging us in the Lord. God gave us hope, and miraculously healed my body. Carol was able to give birth to our son without complication, I was able to see my son come into this world two weeks after leaving the hospital. Hallelujah!
That tense and adverse time in our lives made us think of the tense and adverse time Jesus spent in prayer for each of us in the Garden. Don’t you think Jesus (the God-man) thought of these things too? The tension of... "Is there another way to make this work? Can this cup pass from Me? Is this truly Your will, Father? Is this really the way to victory over sin, death, and the grave?". But in that tension came the greatest revelation ever known for the human heart. He could not be spared - so we would be spared, He would be delivered up - so we could be delivered up. He would be separated - so that nothing could ever separate us from His love!
Bryan and Carol Thompson
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Reunion Community Church is a non-denominational, Bible teaching Christian church located in Peoria, Arizona. We are centrally located to Surprise, AZ, Glendale, AZ and Phoenix, AZ just off the 101 Freeway and Cactus Rd.