I love Jesus with all of my heart, but despite this, it still seemed I was missing something. I hungered, and still hunger more than ever before, to grow closer and closer to Jesus. But I am my own worst enemy. I became so focused in being extra organized that there was no time left over for experiencing God fully. I had “to do” lists for everything under the sun: Things at work, things at home, things for the ministry, for relaxation, for meditating on Bible texts, you name it! My “to do” lists were dominating my life!
Then I faced a white night. I was suffering from insomnia and breathing problems, as well as anxiety due to the sleep apnea that my CPAP machine could no longer correct. I suddenly had all the time in the world to find out more about the Lover of my soul. As a result, I have grown closer to Him and I try to focus on Him and Him alone. Even though I am now experiencing harsh trials from very different fronts, I am at peace because Jesus is my vision. My “to do” lists no longer dominate me!
There are times where I become slack in my faith, but then Jesus nudges me gently, reminding that He, too faced anxiety. In fact, right before His arrest, just prior to the worst ordeal known to mankind, He was completely at peace.
That’s what is amazing about Jesus. Even though He knew what was awaiting Him, “On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!'” (Matthew 20:17-19, NIV2), He didn’t fret or worry.
In fact, just prior to His arrest, He said: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” (Matthew 26:38b, NIV2).
But even then, instead of worrying, even though anxiety was pounding on His heart’s door, He decided to confide in His Father: “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” (Matthew 26:36b, NIV2). He found relief in God, and when his enemy arrived, he was completely at peace, even when He was beaten and then condemned to the worst death that exists on this planet: Crucifixion.
I believe that our tendency is to be “worry warriors” rather than “prayer warriors”. Too often we let the circumstances of life dominate our souls, causing us to lose sleep and rendering us obsessed about tomorrow. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Didn’t Jesus declare: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25, NIV2)
When we worry, we truly miss out on the experience of real living! It robs us of everything we were created for, rendering us vulnerable and defenceless. It is a weapon from the evil one whose sole purpose is “to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10 NIV).
But this, along with all of our worries, can be defeated, if we let Jesus be the sole focus of our lives. Instead of being “worry warriors”, it is time that we stand up and become “prayer warriors”. Our lives are at stake, and we don’t have to let ourselves become beaten by the defeat created by our endless worries. Have you noticed that no matter what we do, the worries never disappear? Until we give them to Jesus, that is!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, NIV2)
Only He can give us real rest, for He can guide us through the adversities of life so much better than any of us can. It is our choice whether or not we experience Jesus fully, and it all depends upon… What kind of “warrior” we would like to be!
Written on January 13, 2013
(To access the entire “When Suffering Knocks on our Door” devotional series, please click here.)