Jesus, You Take Care of This: ____

Have you ever felt the need to just cry out “Jesus, You take care of this problem”? If you said no, I would question your walk with God. I would question it for the simple reason that God designed life in such a way as to cause us to “need” Him. Needing Him not only for our salvation but for daily life. But some of us may cry longer and louder, JESUS, YOU TAKE CARE OF THIS, more than others. Why this is the case, I have no answer. But it is a reality. The statement, “Jesus, You take care of this” came from a book. The section of this book is titled “The Therapy of Trust.” Its content consists of a type of therapy for those who struggle a little longer and a little louder and who need Jesus to simply “take care of things” because they cannot.

This Therapy of Trust was actually first discovered by a few famous Christians from history: Martin Luther, John Bunyan, and Saint Therese. All three of them suffered psychological torture. They suffered inside prisons of their own minds. And yet, all three arrived at the same cure separately. “What cured them was coming to a full awareness of the truth about God and themselves. They discovered a powerful dynamic that involves the convergence of three fundamental Christian truths: the helplessness of oneself, the power of God, and the mercy of God to those who confidently turn to him” (Osborn, Can Christianity Cure Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?, 2008, p. 173). Though their journey through life was uniquely difficult “these three Christian greats all eventually came to see the necessity of their having been brought to their knees by their torment” (p. 174). For those who know not of God’s grace, there are other therapies available. But “for the committed Christian, however, OCD represents a rare opportunity for spiritual growth. Looking back on their lives, Luther, Bunyan, and Therese all remarked that they were glad they had suffered their tormenting fears, because through them they had learned invaluable lessons” (p. 175-176). And I would summarize these lessons this way: they each learned that their identity must be rooted in Christ alone. They each learned to depend fully on Christ for their well-being. And they each lived out the rest of their lives with one purpose: for the glory of Christ.

It is interesting how these three individuals viewed their suffering in hindsight. They recognized that God was doing something extraordinary inside of them, in their character, that they could have only learned through these experiences. So, it seems like this was God’s will for them, doesn’t it? The Bible says that God’s will for us is our “sanctification” (or holiness, being set-apart for a unique purpose). As the apostle Paul says here: “For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification:” (1 Thess 4:2-3). Here is something I read today in one of my daily devotions: “The will of God includes holiness and purity. Holiness is everything that is beautiful about God. His calling is a holy calling, His guidance is a holy guidance, His voice is a holy voice. His will for you is a holy will, His plans for you are holy plans, His purpose for you is a holy purpose … [and] His will for you is possible, not because you are holy, but because He is Holy and He lives His life in you.” (Lessin, His Footsteps, My Pathways, May 22, emphasis mine). Since all these things are true, why is holiness not the thing we strive after most (for most Christians that is)? It seems that God must “force” us into a corner just so we submit to His sanctifying purpose. When He makes or allows life to become difficult, He is placing us into a position of surrender and blessing. And surrender is the place our characters are formed. A holy character pleases the Lord, and when the Lord is pleased, He responds with blessings in mysterious, unpredictable ways.

James, the brother of Jesus tells us to “Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4, AMPC). So suffering is God’s “gift” to His beloved children. Since, in His hands, our suffering becomes our sanctification. Consider also what the apostle Peter says, who was crucified upside down for his faith according to tradition, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet 1:6-7, emphasis mine). He explains that our trials are for the purpose of “refining or purifying” our faith. And the end result of this process is that we will receive “praise and glory and honor” when Jesus returns for us. As we endure hardship “by faith” we are storing up rewards in heaven. It is Jesus who is our model here. The Bible says He left us an example to follow, using Peter’s words once again: “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God” (1 Pet 4:1-2). The book of 1 Peter, from beginning to end, is filled with verses regarding trials and suffering. It seems he understood this as the only way faith is purified and perfected. It is interesting how trials and tribulations “sober us,” meaning they purify both our flesh and mind of the “lusts of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and of the boastful pride of life” (1 Jn 2:16) which all stem from the world.

I want to close with this sobering reminder from the apostle Paul. He says: “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers (and sisters), of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Cor 1:8-9, emphasis mine). So, we see the purpose of God in the life of the Christian is that they lose all sense of self-reliance and reliance upon the flesh, exchanging it for absolute, complete dependence on Christ. There is no shortcut to this process. We must go through the fire in order to burn off the dross. This is how we become more like Jesus. In fact, the writer of Hebrews says that He (Jesus) learned obedience through what He suffered (Heb 5:8). If we are to “follow” in His footsteps, which all disciples are called to do, then we must submit to the process. At the end of the day, the wisest thing I can do is lay down on the altar of God, breathe, and confess that my sufficiency comes from His power in me alone. For me, this looks like daily trusting His faithful response to this prayer: Jesus, You take care of this: ME

Categories HOPE!, Truth and ErrorTags ,

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