I remember it well. Thorson Hall 118, my sophomore dorm room. It was a Friday night in December, right before finals. I sat in my desk chair while the song “Something’s Always Wrong” by Toad The Wet Sprocket came on the radio, and I started to cry. There was no single horrible thing happening at that time in my life; instead, a handful of smaller things were all going badly, scaring me, making me sad, and making me feel like there was no hope for things to get better. After a bit, my roommate walked in. While not generally the type to embrace other men, he gave me a long hug before walking back out, and I have no doubt that he personified God’s grace at that moment.
Clearly, I made it through that. Twenty-one (yeesh) years later, I’ve got an amazing life: a wonderful wife, three spectacular kids, an engaging and well-paying job, a nice house in a beautiful neighborhood… and yet, sometimes I still get overwhelmed like I did back in my dorm room. There’s so much to be sad about, to be scared of, that I can become immobilized just thinking about it all.
Then, more often than not, I’m reminded about God’s grace in my life. I’m comforted that, while times may be hard now, I’ve got Jesus on my side. We all do. And while we struggle here on Earth—let’s face it, something will always be wrong—we can seek solace in knowing that Jesus faced our same trials, and is working to help us feel better.
What do you do when you find yourself in times of trouble? How do you see God working through you at these times?
The story of Jesus’ capture and crucifixion has always amazed me, and for reasons beyond the obvious.
It amazes me that, even though he knows what’s going to happen, Jesus doesn’t panic. He doesn’t try to escape. On the contrary, he willingly shows his face to the soldiers and Pharisees who come to arrest him. He also doesn’t take Pilate up on his offer to talk Himself out of being crucified. I, for one, would not have had that strength. What Would Wade Do? I would have darted out of there as quickly as possible, a la the troubled investment banker in Sunday’s sermon.
Jesus knew His role, the part that He needed to play, and He accepted it. Because of this, none of us need to fear death as He feared. Because of God’s sacrifice of His son, the troubles of our earthly life are merely a temporary distraction. Our real reward is waiting for us in heaven.
Sacrificing myself for others has always been difficult for me to conceptualize. Now, after having children, the notion of sacrificing one of them is beyond my ability to comprehend. Realizing God did that—for me—speaks to me in a way that I cannot describe, and it keeps me both grateful and humble.
Dear God: help us and comfort us when we are overwhelmed and scared. Remind us that Jesus and the Holy Spirit surround us, embrace us, and can ease our concern. We thank you for sacrificing your Son so that we no longer need to be afraid. We thank you for all of the wonderful things in our lives. Amen.