Last week, I took a risk.
I admitted to some less-than-pretty emotions.
I talked about those feelings we get when life is overwhelming, and we feel like we're alone.
Yes, I even 'fessed up to asking *the question* that comes to my lips at times - you know the one - "Where are You, Lord?"
First of all, I must take the time to thank all of you who commented. I was greatly comforted and encouraged by all you had to say. And, after all, isn't this how the Body of Christ is supposed to work? Each of us helping the other, being the "Aaron and Hur arms" when a fellow believer feels weak? So, I greatly appreciate each of you. For helping my shaky legs to once again stand firm.
But, though this is important indeed, it's not the primary reason I'm writing this post.
I'm writing because God revealed something really huge to me.
Now I don't have actual Scripture to back this up, but I truly feel that God imparted this to me, for it has the ring of truth.
He revealed an insight about one of the stories that I shared with you. The story about when Jesus sent the disciples into a storm, while He initially stayed behind to pray.
(See Scripture reference: Matthew 14:22-32, NLT)
My first view of this story was that Jesus had left the disciples alone. While they sailed off into the throes of a storm, Jesus stayed behind to pray.
But then, as I pondered this more, I heard the Holy Spirit speak the most amazing thing to my heart:
"Don't you know why He was praying? He was praying for the disciples."
I stopped as I heard this - and my heart shifted completely.
Do you remember those optical designs they used to have? Where there were all those dots, and if you stared long enough, and let your eyes blur just a bit, all of a sudden a hidden 3-D picture would appear?
This is what this moment felt like.
Like I had been looking at the story, but totally missing one VERY significant thing.
In the middle of my own storms, I had been focusing on the boat and the waves.
I had been looking at the disciples, and their plight, and at Jesus' initial absence from them.
I had been looking through *disciple eyes*, not through Jesus' eyes.
For in concentrating (wrongly) on the fact of Jesus' absence, I had completely missed something of much greater importance.
Jesus wasn't absent because He was all about His own agenda. He wasn't choosing "Him" time over helping the disciples.
No, I now believe that He was praying - not absent from the disciples, but very present as He prayed FOR them.
Knowing about the storm.
Praying for them as they entered the storm.
Asking His Father (their Father) to hold them strong in the storm.
And to bring them through to the other side.
No, Jesus did NOT leave the disciples alone, but was doing one of the strongest things you can do for someone facing storms. He was praying for them.
I'm not sure I can explain the hush, or the humbling, that came to me as I heard the Holy Spirit add these words:
"And Jesus is in heaven, interceding for YOU."
Yes, this is how God personalized the meaning for me.
He showed me that when I look to the skies and wonder, "Where are You, Lord?" - and when I feel alone - I am forgetting one incredible Truth.
Jesus is at the Father's side, and He is my High Priest.
What a reminder to me of His faithfulness!
Yes, not only is He with me in the storms, I happen to think He's also praying for me.
I was reminded of the time when Jesus said that the enemy had asked to sift Peter, and Jesus said He was praying for him. I took the liberty of personalizing this:
"Sharon, Sharon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail..."
And this Scripture:
"I do not ask You to take Sharon out of the world, but to keep her from the evil one."
These are powerful messages.
We are protected and surrounded, dear ones, by the very words and heart of Jesus!
The thought of Jesus, interceding for us before our Father - well, it has greatly increased my sense that we are truly NEVER alone.
Yes, dear Lord, how precious this thought is to me.
Oh, please forgive me for thinking even one second that You had "abandoned" the disciples. Forgive me for ever doubting that You are with me.
Forgive me for forgetting that You - YOU! - are my High Priest.
That You understand my deepest groanings when in my pain I cannot utter words.
I wish I could adequately convey my feelings. And how I am still a bit awed by this revelation. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. When God takes a very familiar story and reveals a deeper Truth in it.
A truth that both convicts you and comforts you at the same time.
Yes, it is that.
So, picture this moment.
Forget the storm for a moment, and picture Jesus, on His knees, praying.
Our dearest Jesus - who was no doubt wearied by His own storms - Jesus praying for those He loved.
And, picture Him perhaps doing the same for US now...
...because He loves us.
Sometimes I am chagrined at how easily I can still look at things so wrong. How easily I can be duped into contemplating lies. How I have to fight my "self" to get to the Truth sometimes.
And yet, even in this, I am led by the Holy Spirit.
Away from *disciple eyes*, and into the perspective of the Lord.
The One who never fails us, nor abandons us.
Even when we wonder about things - like storms, and waves, and sinking beneath overwhelming circumstances.
Even there, He is there.
And He speaks these incredibly beautiful, amazing, comforting words:
"Take courage. It is I. Don't be afraid. I am here."
Ponder the story anew, my friends.
And rest in the wonder of a Savior who intercedes for us.
Knowing about the storms.
Praying for us as we enter the storms.
Asking His Father (our Father) to hold us strong in the storms.
And to bring us through to the other side.
This I know...
It was to us
that God revealed these things.
For His Spirit
searches out everything
and shows us
God's deep secrets.
"...but [Christ] holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:24-25, ESV)
"Christ Jesus is the one who died - more than that, who was raised - who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us." (Romans 8:34, ESV)
"This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever..." (Hebrews 6:19-20, NASB)
"So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." (Hebrews 4:14-16, NLT)
"But now, O Jacob, listen to the LORD who created you...the one who formed you says, 'Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior...you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. Do not be afraid, for I am with you.'' (Isaiah 43:1-5, NLT)
"The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed."
(Deuteronomy 31:8, NASB)
"'And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'" (Matthew 28:20, NLT)
Has God ever revealed a *new twist on an old story* to you?
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