Now my soul is troubled, and what should I say? Father save me from this hour?”  John 12:27

Okay I can virtually see the eyes rolling and hear the heavy sighs as some readers say:  Really Doug?  Most of the country is in the grips of damp, cloudy, cold, rain, sleet or snow filled skies.  The news these days is not all that good.  And while yes it is the Christmas Season, even that can bring about anxiety and a certain melancholy.  So can’t you write something a little more upbeat than my Savior felt desperate too?  Is this some misery loves company post?  So if you’re thinking that or haven’t already clicked off to somewhere else, hang in there with me because I believe there is some powerfully uplifting, even a joyful promise in this.

So here we go.  When we think about Jesus being anxious or having feelings of desperation, we often picture His praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, His trial before Pilate or His time on the cross.  And of course those would be correct instances to think that.  For in the Garden, Jesus knew that His arrest was to happen in a few short minutes.  Yet the referenced quote from John was not from the time frame of the Garden, it was right after Jesus had triumphantly entered Jerusalem.  His disciples were still basking in the adulation of the entry.  Greeks were coming up to Philip almost begging to be introduced to Jesus.  The Pharisees and Jewish leaders were the one’s in despair thinking that the whole world had left them and was now following Jesus.

Jesus knew better.  Although the disciples did not recollect it at the time, Jesus had told them already that this trip to Jerusalem would end in His death.  Jesus seemed to always know what the end was going to be from the beginning.  And with a steadfast determination that could only come from the One True Son of God, Jesus never wavered from His Father’s Plan to carryout our Salvation.  Yet that doesn’t mean that Jesus skipped happily forward to meet His impending demise.  There was a part of Jesus who wanted out; even asked to get out, if there be anyway possible.  Thanks be to His strength; to the God come down, that He was able to summon the courage to go through with it.

Okay you say, I’m getting the fact that Jesus was in despair, but not sure about the uplifting part about it.  Here’s the thing, the wonderfully amazing thing; Jesus knew desperation..FOR US!   Jesus’ feeling of desperation, like his feelings of hunger, pain and sorrow were not just some academic exercise by a curious but unfeeling God.  No, Jesus subjected Himself to human frailties out of love for you and me.  The world would see it as a weakness but the truth is it takes unbelievable strength to endure the physical and emotional traumas that this world inflicts upon us willingly.  For us and our salvation God came to earth in the form of Jesus Christ.  Why?  As it says in Hebrews, For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are attempted.  And again in Hebrews:  “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses….”  And lest we think that Jesus was some rogue deity sneaking down to help us poor humans out; this was His Father’s plan to bring us back into relationship with Him.

Having experienced as we have experienced yet without succumbing to sin, Jesus makes these promises to us that we know He has the power to keep:  He will give us rest, He has come that we might have life and have it abundantly, peace he will give us, not as the world gives but true peace.  We can have such confidence in those promises because they come from One who knew what it was to be weary; that was the creator of life knowing how abundant it can be, knew what strife and desperation are so that He knows what true peace is.  He beckons us to be in Him so that He can be in you and me, no matter what the circumstances.  So what do we get from that?  We get the promise from Him who has witnessed all first hand.

In response to every heartbreak, every woe, every downtrodden circumstance we may be in; Jesus Christ looks us straight in the eye and speaks to our heart:  That in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.  To overcome something you first must have experienced it.  Jesus Christ knows our desperation.  When we are in relationship with Him, we can experience our own triumphant victory over our desperation through Him.  In Jesus Christ, the victorious love company too.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we are made humble and awestruck at the length and breadth of Your Love for Us.  That You would Send You Only Son, Jesus Christ, to live as a human, knowing our trials and tribulations while never succumbing to them.  That being perfect, He would still choose to suffer the sinners death thus sparing us the judgement that is rightfully ours.  Thank you Dear Jesus Christ, that you, having experienced our pain reach down to shower us with Your Love to lift us up above our desperation to share in Your victory.  May it be that this world never blinds us to the promise that is in You, Dear Jesus and that our lives would be lived to praise Your Most Holy Name.  We pray in Your Name Jesus Christ.  Amen

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