Let’s talk about those “Oh, Jesus!” prayers

ohjesus

I sighed heavily, my prayer just 2 words, “Oh, Jesus!”

I know, somehow deep inside that the world is not as the Creator intended it to be. It’s not all grim! I enjoyed a sweet afternoon chatting with friends, joyful to be part of a team that served families from the Food Pantry at Faith Discovery Church.  The sun shone brightly and what joy there was in offering a bag of groceries and a word of hope to many.

But, then,  I came home to the awful story out of Georgia about a young black man shot in the street by two white men who thought he was a burglar. “Oh, Jesus!”
An email arrived that informed me that that I should prepare for the possibility that church ministries will be severely curtailed through the end of the year. “Oh, Jesus!”

I have prayed a lot of “Oh, Jesus!” prayers lately. Truly, I just run out of words, the vast need of the world bearing down on my soul like the weight of a heavy anvil.

This morning I read Paul’s words about the weight of sin and suffering. “And even we Christians, although we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, also groan to be released from pain and suffering. We, too, wait anxiously for that day when God will give us our full rights as his children, including the new bodies he has promised us. Now that we are saved, we eagerly look forward to this freedom. For if you already have something, you don’t need to hope for it.

But if we look forward to something we don’t have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently. And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” (Romans 8:23-26, NLT)

Is that not a great passage? The Spirit, living in us, whispers into our hearts that there is more beyond, that our human experience is not the complete expression of life. The last 2 months have powerfully reminded me (you, too?) that life can change quickly. This crisis has yanked me from complacency and renewed my thirst for the Living God.  How about you?

The Spirit would remind us that there is a whole NEW, wonderful life prepared for us, one for which we are to wait with patience. And, while we wait, the Spirit hears our “Oh, Jesus!” prayers. What humanity’s sin of rebellion released into Creation – pain, death, hate, despair – is answered with God’s promise of salvation through Christ Jesus.

Peter says it like this: “In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” (1 Peter 1:3-6, NIV)

Yes, we are fully reconciled to our Father, given access to His Throne, and promised that someday we will know our ‘full rights as His children.’  It is almost unimaginable, isn’t it, to think about a life where no one dies, no one hates, no one is lonely?  Don’t be tricked into believing that knowing Jesus is just about ‘pie in the sky by and by!’  Yes, Heaven is on the horizon but IF we walk with the Lord with hope today, we can enjoy a supernatural serenity; a ‘foretaste of glory’ even now.

The groanings and sighs, those “Oh, Jesus!” prayers, are not resignation to fate, nor are they a surrender to life as it is. They are the prayers of as soul that hungers to fully know the Spirit’s life in all the fullness of God.

Dear Christian, let us not be naive or escapist in our faith, people who refuse to see life as it is. Jesus once asked His friends to take a second look with spiritual eyes so that they would be able to see the opportunities right in front of them.  “Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” (John 4:35, NIV)  So must we.  And, when we see the need and the more that is beyond, we will feel the weight of our calling and we will groan – “Oh, Jesus!”

The word from the Word is a familiar one. This Friday morning spend some time meditating here. If you feel the weight of the broken world, perhaps even your own failure, go ahead and sigh that prayer, “Oh, Jesus” not with despair but rather with faith.  For, “those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31, NIV) So we pray, ever more earnestly,  “May your Kingdom come, and Your will be done – on earth, as it is in Heaven.” Amen.

____________

O That Will Be Glory
(an acapella version of this old hymn. Take a moment to listen. It will bless you!)

When all my labors and trials are o’er
And I am safe on that beautiful shore
Just to be near the dear Lord I adore
Will through the ages be glory for me

 O that will be glory for me
Glory for me glory for me
When by His grace I shall look on His face
That will be glory be glory for me

 When by the gift of His infinite grace
I am accorded in heaven a place
Just to be there and to look on His face
Will through the ages be glory for me

 Friends will be there I have loved long ago
Joy like a river around me will flow
Yet just a smile from my Savior I know
Will through the ages be glory for me

Charles Hutchinson Gabriel | Marilyn White © Words: Public Domain

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