You can see it coming.
How the consequences of other people's choices are impacting/are going to continue to impact you and those you love.
You could force a change, or you could run away.
But instead, you discern that God wants you to stay and love this person/these people. You discern that you are to be available, and not closed off from them, while they make their choices and the consequences unfold. You discern that you need to stand your ground of love and support for them, even though you know it will mean agony for you.
Here are some truths God has given me to exercise - to work out in repetition in my heart, mind, and prayers - during these times.
* * *
Jesus chose to bear the experience of the cross.
Though - if there was ANY other way - He didn't want to go through that experience.
He demonstrated it is Christ-like to repetitively cry out for the situation to be taken from you. (Matthew 26:44)
Yet, He chose to bear the cross for the resurrection life it meant for His beloved people.
He was not sinning. Others were. Their sin/our sin cost Him more than we will (probably ever) understand.
He saw it all coming.
He knew what it would cost Him.
But for the sake of new life for His loved ones, He bore it.
For the joy set before Him. (Hebrews 12:2)
The experience scarred Him.
But He came out of it gloriously new, too.
New truth to speak, that His loved ones had ears to hear, in part because of what they had personally witnessed of Him during the time of His trial, and crucifixion.
New forgiveness for their betrayal and abandonment.
New out-pouring of His Spirit they needed to live in victory.
Not simply re-freshed but NEW relationship.
The FREEDOM and JOY and PEACE and WISDOM and STRENGTH and HOPE and LOVE that comes with new, resurrection life is desperately needed.
* * *
You recognize that resurrection life is needed all around you, and within you.
Consider and embrace this:
Death is the prerequisite to resurrection.
Resurrection is needed everywhere.
So death, in some form, is necessary everywhere.
The resurrection is unstoppable.
Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life.
And not even death can separate us from His love.
Not the present situation. Not any powers. Not any circumstances to come.
He is Love, and there is nowhere we can flee from His presence.
Nothing and no one can separate you, or your loved ones, from His love.
* * *
Maybe you're at a part in your story where you are being mocked, beaten up, spit on, slapped in the face, where it feels like a crown of thorns is being pushed down into your head.
Maybe a clearly guilty, intentionally murderous option is being chosen over you. Over your freely given grace and truth.
Maybe you are surrounded by enemies calling for your destruction, your death.
Maybe you can't physically bear the weight of your own cross anymore and need someone else to help you carry it.
Maybe you are pierced through, and bleeding out, and struggling for every single breath.
Maybe you are dying, while others around you are discussing in front of you how to divide up what was once yours, now stripped from you.
Maybe you are surrounded by darkness in the middle of the day.
Maybe at moments you feel utterly forsaken.
Maybe you have the power to force a different outcome, but you choose not to out of love. Because of this, you are misunderstood, mocked, and called weak. You are mocked as incompetent, and a liar because what you are going through they take as the ultimate demonstration that you are not who you say you are.
Consider memorizing these words that were on Jesus' heart and mind while He was on the cross for your prayers in the brutal moments, friend:
"Father, forgive them. They don't know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)
You can read through Psalm 22, which is the scripture Jesus quoted from when He cried out: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Jesus knew the whole of Psalm 22, and that beyond the first waves of feelings the Psalmist would proclaim the truth:
"For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him, but has listened to his cry for help... All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules the nations... They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn - for he has done it." (Psalm 22: 24, 27, 31)
"He has done it." Jesus knew that is how the Psalm concludes.
Jesus then says "It is finished." (John 19:30)
And "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit". (Luke 23:46)
He proclaimed "He has done it" and the good work was "finished" before the resurrection was experienced in earthly time. He spoke this truth when He knew death was coming, and a huge stone to bar the way back to life. He said "It is finished" knowing that resurrection life was already accomplished in His willingness to bear the cross. He ordained history this way: Life is the end of the story.
The grave has no hold on Jesus Christ.
And He lives in you.
You WILL walk out of death, into new life.
Let Him ask you: If this crucifixion means the resurrected life of your loved one(s)... will you trust Him in the midst of the blindingly painful process?
For the JOY set before you, you can endure the cross, despise its shame, and let your Father hold you with His powerful right hand. You will witness Him do what only He can do.
Bring resurrection life.
He will do it.
He is faithful.
When I'm being beaten and drug through brutal life circumstances with a loved one because of sin and free will on their part, my dad encourages me:
"Do not stay at the cross, Elise. Do not stay focused on the crucifixion. Each moment will be hard enough to bear through. And the grace you need will be given to you at the time you must bear it.
But remember how the story ends. Focus on the joy set before you. Fix your eyes, your mind, on Jesus.
He is the Resurrection and the Life.
The cross is where evil meets Good and dies."
Your enemy wants you to forget that new life grows in, and is birthed from, the dark.
Your enemy does not want you to pray big prayers to your Heavenly Father, who is close to you in your brokenheartedness and is listening to you.
When you are tempted to lose hope for Resurrection to come to you or your loved one in the midst of a suffocating situation, you have your personal experiences of Jesus to draw strength from.
You must remember your own story.
The Resurrection and the Life did not leave you in the crowd of those who mocked Him, betrayed Him, abandoned Him, chose evil over Him, pierced Him through, chose death and not Life.
He walked out of the grave and He called you by name.
You are now His.
And He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
You can embrace Joy. Even now. Everything that stood against you has been taken away and nailed to the cross, defeated. His arms are open wide.
He wants you to know today:
You are so, so loved.
P. S. You are invited!
I'd love to encourage you in person, friend. My last speaking engagement before I give birth to my son is this Saturday, June 23rd. It's a one-day women's retreat in Gruene, TX. And due to some generous donors, it's completely free to attend.
The next generation needs to know your experiences of Jesus. I help you share them.
Remembering and writing down some of your own story will refresh you and strengthen your faith in ways I'm excited for you to experience!
If you'd like to join me at the Times of Refreshing one-day women's retreat this Saturday, send me a direct message on Instagram, or Facebook, or email me at: littlelunchmaker (at) gmail (dot) com and I will send you further details!