This morning in my devotional reading from Our Daily Bread was a portion of the passage from John 13 from the Last Supper, the night before Jesus’ crucifixion. It got me thinking about Jesus’ last “free” night on earth. He knew exactly what was to come. He faced the horror of the upcoming betrayal, pain and Cross.
Have you ever had a time in your life when it was the eve of something tragic and beyond agonizing for you? The night before a funeral of a beloved one? The night before a divorce? The night before surgery? The night before some incredible loss that you knew was coming? It is almost unbearable… you cannot find breath, your body is wracked with heartbreak, dread and mind-numbing disbelief. You are unable to allow the grief to touch the root of your soul for fear it will take your own life right then and there. Perhaps you even wish it would end your life as a means of escape.
How much more must Jesus have felt as His future loomed before Him? To face not only the horrific upcoming torture of His body but the separation from His Father, to Whom He was in constant union since before time began? To face that severance of blessed communion with His beloved Father, to have the Father turn His back on Jesus? Is it any wonder that, in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, He sweat drops of blood as He found one last shred of sanctuary in a time of prayer and fellowship with His Abba?
Perhaps you are also facing a dark night of the soul. If not now, I am sure you have in the past and can easily go back there in mind, body and soul – these are not nights we ever forget… ever. May I ask you to momentarily remember that Jesus has been there and knows what you are going through or have experienced? This is not a Savior Who sits high in some lofty throne in the heavens unaware and untouched by your tragedy and grief. He has walked in your shoes… and so much more. He has been crucified, buried, and experienced Hell. By choice… for us… in our place... for our redemption.
Your life will never be the same after what you have faced or are about to go through soon. But take heart in the fact that, when we have Christ as our Savior and Lord, we have One who ensures that your eternal life has also been transformed forver. You will never have to face the torment of being separated from the Father. Because Christ chose us by electing His painful path that night so many centuries ago, we can allow ourselves – in Him – to not let our hearts be troubled. Right now you may not be able to wrap yourself around that eternal truth, but know beyond feelings… know the truth of the fact… that in Him your heart may rest. And in time there will be the glory of a resurrected day for you in the here and now on earth, as well as the unspeakable joy and victory of forever with Christ, never to be separated, never to feel pain, but only the sweet victory of salvation through the One Who rose from the grave and conquered death… on our behalf. He chose you and gladly went through everything because of His love for you. YOU.
As you turn off the light tonight and lie in darkness remember His dark night of the soul, and look beyond – as He did – to a time when there will be no more pain or sorrow… only the peace that will come in His arms… opened wide before time began, opened wide as He hung on the cross… opened wide now with love for you. Accept this comfort… accept Him… and let not your heart be troubled. Believe in Him.
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