Finding Strength for Hard Times

I must step back, and I must trust God.I’m in a tough season. It’s not a season of emergency or heart-wrenching tragedy, but it is a time of higher-than-normal stress. A lot is going on around me, and I have very little control over most of it.

I must step back, and I must trust God.

While I wait for His timing and His answers, I continue to work on those things He’s given me to do. Some days, this is harder than others.

  • How do you thrive when the world around you twirls and swirls?
  • Where do you find the strength to get out of bed when you’d rather throw the covers over your head and hide?
  • How can you lovingly and patiently serve others when you just want someone to put everything around you right again?
  • What would . . . no, what did Jesus do?

Jesus Before His Trial

The apostle John was one of Jesus’s closest friends on this earth. He traveled with Him during His ministry years, was one of three who saw a couple of things no other disciple witnessed, and was granted the job of caring for Mary, Jesus’s mother, at the crucifixion. John focused on showing Jesus’s identity, proving He was who He said He was: God’s Son.

In His Gospel, John focused on showing Jesus’s identity, proving He was who He said He was: God’s Son. And John spends a lot of his book on Jesus’s last week before the cross. The night Jesus is arrested, He takes the time to do something very subservient. Something that bothered at least one of the disciples.

Let’s enter the story at John chapter 13, verse 1.

John’s Account

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will“You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” understand.”

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

The Part We Miss

This story may be familiar to you. If it’s not, I encourage you to go read the rest of it.

But for years, I was so intent on what I could glean from the conversation between Peter and Jesus, that I missed something critical in the narration: The whole reason Jesus could take a few moments to focus on serving the disciples in the first place.

Strength for Difficult Times

Jesus knew the cross was coming. He knew that He was hours from a lot of physical, mental, and emotional pain. And yet He took the time to wash His disciple’s feet. He took the time to do a servant’s job.

How could He do that?

He found the strength in three things.

1. He knew His authority.

No matter what anyone that night thought, Jesus maintained His God-given authority. And He knew it.Verse 3 says, Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power. All things. All. Things. No matter what anyone that night thought, from Judas who betrayed Him to the Jewish leaders who riled the people up against Him, to the Roman soldiers who carried out their orders, Jesus maintained His God-given authority. And He knew it.

 

2. He knew He’d come from God.

Verse 3 also says, Jesus knew . . . that he had come from God. He didn’t have to go on some great quest, touring Europe or walking the Appalachian Trail to find Himself. Jesus understood that God had given Him orders, a purpose, and a plan. He was on a mission, and He knew it.  

3. He knew He was returning to God.

Finally, verse 3 says, Jesus knew that [He] was returning to God. Deep in His being, Jesus understood that no matter what life looked like on this earth, He was in a win-win situation. And the completion of His mission—His death—was the ultimate victory. His death meant returning to God, and He knew it. 

The astounding truth I sometimes forget is that these things Jesus knew — they are all true for me.3 Truths We Need to Remember

The astounding truth I sometimes forget is that these things Jesus knew—they are all true for me. And you, if you’ve accepted that Jesus died for your sins and God raised Him from the dead.

1. We have power and authority.

Seriously. More than we often think we do. Paul writes to the church in Ephesus (Ephesians 1:18-21):

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”2. We have a mission from God.

Jeremiah 29:11 is a well-beloved verse.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

But Psalm 139:16 indicates God had a plan for us even before our birth.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

3. We will return to God.

The great promise of eternal life with Christ is one that calms many hearts when death is close. But it’s not just a good feeling, it’s biblical fact.

If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

So, can we face times of great stress with a servant’s heart and attitude?

It’s my prayer that as I draw closer to Jesus, I’ll display His heart in ever greater portions, no matter the stress going on around me.

So, Tell Me . . .

I want to know what you think!

  • Did this post make you think a bit to make sure you’re on track with God? Write ‘Yes’ in the comments below.
  • Does this motivate you to make some changes in your life? Write ‘Changes Ahead!’ in the comments below.
  • Do you need to think about it some more or figure out what God wants you to do? Let me know you are ‘Still Thinking.’
  • Anything else come to mind? Share it below! Your comments encourage me to keep writing, no matter how insignificant you think your thoughts about this post are.

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