Posted by: mikenicholsblog | November 11, 2013

can you, and will you?

I’m sure you’ve had an experience like the one that captured my full attention.  You had prepared for it, dreaded it, and now the time was almost at hand.  It may have even been an event that you were sure was the will of God.  But somehow there were very real feelings of, “I am not sure I want to go through this,” taxing your emotions.  For me, the year was 1990. I had to have jaw surgery because of a tendency for my jaw to lock. In a moment of insanity, I scheduled the surgery the day after Christmas. What a way to ruin the holidays!  The surgery had to be done, and I was confident that it would help, but just thinking about that kind of surgery was unsettling.  The actual event made “unsettling” seem like a gross underestimation!  I knew the doctor would saw  through both jaws and reset them, but he didn’t tell me (or my wife) that he was also going to saw through the upper palate between my two front teeth.  The procedure was needed and brought the desired result, but the anticipation was miserable and it was difficult to endure.  Have you had an event that captured your attention in a similar fashion?  I’m sure you have.

As torturous as my jaw surgery and your own experience(s) were, they pale in comparison to the anticipation of an event that happened two-thousand years ago.  Jesus was moving toward an event that was, in my mind, the very hinge point of human history.  He was on a divine mission to the cross. There is no way that Christ would be thwarted from fulfilling the mission, but the will of God for his Son was something that would involve pain beyond anything you and I can imagine.  Still, as painful as the cross would be, the Bible is also clear that the anticipation was equally, if not more painful for Christ.  In the last couple of weeks, I have thought a lot about a verse that speaks to the dread Christ felt for the impending event.

John 12:27
Now my soul is deeply troubled. Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But this is the very reason I came!

Make no mistake, Christ would not be deterred from the reason He came. But His soul was still deeply troubled about where the will of God was leading Him. The New Living Translation Chronological Bible gives great insight into the verse above.  It states…

“Jesus knew his crucifixion lay ahead, and because He was human, he dreaded it. He knew he would have to take the sins of the world on himself, and he knew this would separate him from his Father.  He wanted to be delivered from this horrible death, but he knew that God sent him into the world to die for our sins, in our place.  Jesus said no to his human desires in order to obey his Father and glorify him.”

Two emotions/thoughts penetrate me when I look at the profound words of John 12:27. First, I am thankful for the willingness of Christ to endure the cross for my salvation and yours.  If you are a Christ-follower, I am sure you have the same feelings. If you have never accepted Christ, please accept His free gift of salvation.  Second, I am struck by the fact that obedience to the will of God is always the best option for me (and you), regardless of the pain or difficulty we may be asked to endure.  Unless we accept His sovereignty in our lives, following His will when the journey causes pain will be rare.

For the last twenty-three years, I’ve had the blessing of no jaw pain and great teeth alignment. My short-term pain was well worth it. Of infinitely greater worth was the pain that Christ endured for you and me.

God knew what was best for His Son, and what was best for mankind.  And He also knows what is best for you and me—-even when it may cause us a bit of dread (and pain).  His will is perfect!

With what you are facing right now — Can you accept that God knows what’s best for you?  And will you be obedient to the purpose He has for you?


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