“How long do I have to put up with this?” – Jesus

 

hope5“Pastor, you just don’t know how difficult life is,” the voice on the phone told me. The caller was in a tough spot, going through many trials in life. She went on to tell me how much she envied my life, all the ‘amazing blessings’ that I enjoyed. She is right that God has given me a thousand reasons to be thankful and wrong that I am always serene, always hopeful. We all, regardless of our faith, have days when the mountain ahead gets taller, the pathway steeper.

“Did Jesus ever get discouraged?” is a question that came to mind this morning. “Did He ever want to walk away from bickering disciples, turn His eyes from people in pain?”  Both Matthew and Luke tell us a story that lets us see the human nature of our Savior.  Jesus went to prayer and He took Peter, James, and John with Him. The Spirit came down and Jesus was changed in front of those men, resplendent with the Presence of God! Even in that holy place, Peter managed to get it wrong, but that’s a part of the story for another day.

Jesus left that holy place to go back to work. As He walked down the mountain to the crowds He came on a scene of chaos. People gathered and watched the disciples try to heal a boy who was demonized and in distress. They failed spectacularly! As Jesus walked up to this mess, the boy’s father said to Him, “I asked your disciples to deliver him but they couldn’t.” Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! No focus to your lives! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring your son here.” (Luke 9:40-41, The Message)

There is it!  Jesus got discouraged, too. There was an edge to His words. He was frustrated that the guys who would be handed the keys to the Kingdom in just a few months still didn’t ‘get it.’ Jesus, however, did not throw up His hands and walk away. He focused on the healing of the boy. The Gospel wraps it this episode like this:  ‘everyone was marveling at all that Jesus did.’

Even when he was discouraged, Jesus continued to patiently instruct, to draw His disciples deeper into understanding that He must die for the sins of the world before His Kingdom could come. Did they get it then? Sadly, no. At that critical moment, they obsessed on status, bickering about who was greatest! Jesus did not quit on them. He brought a little child to His side and taught them about humility.

Here’s the lesson the Spirit brings to me in theses stories.  Discouragement and frustration will come. We cannot surrender to it. Instead, we must let it drive us back to prayer, to discover again (and again, and again, and again) that ‘in our weakness He is strong.’ Our sense of desperation is no excuse for sin. It is a reason to hold ever more tightly to the One who is always faithful.

Take this word from the Word to heart. “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. … God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:2-4, 12, NLT)

“Lord, forgive me for my self-pity and willingness to complain. Strengthen me for the work. Let me see Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. Amen.”

___________

Miracles

The One who made the blind to see
Is moving here in front of me
Moving here in front of me
The One who made the deaf to hear
Is silencing my ev’ry fear
Silencing my ev’ry fear

I believe in You I believe in You
You’re the God of miracles
I believe in You I believe in You
You’re the God of miracles

The One who does impossible
Is reaching out to make me whole
Reaching out to make me whole
The One who put death in its place
His life is flowing through my veins
His life is flowing through my veins

The God who was and is to come
The power of the Risen One
The God who brings the dead to life
You’re the God of miracles
You’re the God of miracles

Chris Quilala | Dustin Smith | Joshua Silverberg | Stuart Garrard
© 2015 Capitol CMG Amplifier (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
Capitol CMG Genesis (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
Jesus Culture Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

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