When Jesus was nailed to the cross and the crown was placed upon His head, when the abuse of His body was committed and the weight of sin placed upon His shoulders, our names were all over Him. With us in mind, He endured an unspeakable death. And why? To rise again that we might live with Him.
If we think about this, it doesn't take long to want to bow at His feet and obey His every command as a response of deep love and intense worship. But regardless of our good intentions, we get easily distracted by what is visibly before us: opportunities, desires, tasks, and so much more.
And in the midst of all that can drag us away, we hear His voice calling to come and die to ourselves, so that like Him after His death, we can truly live. We, too, are to take up a cross. The struggle for us is to not put it back down.
What I didn't think about until this morning, is that like the nails of Jesus had our names, our nails have words written on them. The things that we need to pierce us to the point of pressing so deeply into Him that we die in order to live. These words are the things that consistently rob of us the abiding life He calls us to with the lies of self-sufficiency, control, power, and more.
And so what if part of the all things in Romans 8:32 are the things we don't really want but in fact need? What if they are the things that draw us closer to Him, which are probably unpleasant, but ultimately make us realize we really don't have to do it all to be loved, worthy, and accepted? What if they are the things that finally demand that we find our rest, spiritual - physical - and emotional, in Him alone?
"If trust must be earned, hasn't God unequivocally earned our trust withe the bark on the
raw wounds, the thorns pressed into the brow, your name on cracked lips? How will He
not give us all things He deems best and right? He's already given us the incomprehensible."
Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts Devotional, Day 7
For a people that constantly talk about the difference between wants and needs, when it comes to sharing in the sufferings of Christ, we clearly get this one backwards. What we want is to do good works in His name, what we need is to be reminded of our frailty. What we want is to coast through and see impact, what we need is the awareness of our complete dependence on Jesus.
At any moment in time our lives can be turned on end with circumstances that are wrapped in earthly uncertainty. But the assurance we have as believers reminds us that those circumstances are a part of the all things given to us in order that we may be able to love Him with our whole hearts. So instead of resisting what we would not prefer, let's lift our voices in a sacrifice of praise and let His plan graciously unfold. Our lives are meant to go beyond such a time and place as this and include for circumstances such as these.