Crosswalk.com aims to offer the most compelling biblically-based content to Christians on their walk with Jesus. Crosswalk.com is your online destination for all areas of Christian Living – faith, family, fun, and community. Each category is further divided into areas important to you and your Christian faith including Bible study, daily devotions, marriage, parenting, movie reviews, music, news, and more.

Intersection of Life and Faith

<< Standing Strong Through the Storm

Standing Strong Through the Storm - March 1

  • 2012 Mar 01
  • COMMENTS

 

TO THE GARDEN AND THE CROSS

When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.  John 18:1

Today’s devotional comes from a Chinese house church pastor who had been arrested and held for three weeks just prior to this talk. He says:

When we suffer for Christ, what actually happens? I mean, what really goes on spiritually within us when we are going through suffering?    

I ask the question because a young sister was listening to me recently recount my experience of being in jail for three weeks last year. She said, “You talked of having constant diarrhea, of being kicked and punched painfully, and you even feared that God was punishing you…yet you talked also of feeling joy and experiencing peace.” She said to me, “I don’t understand how these things go together.”    

My reply to her, and I give it also as an instruction to you all (for you will all suffer at some point for His Name), is that when we suffer, three spiritual experiences happen to us all at once; angelic strengthening, superhuman forgiveness, and human incomprehension. These three things appear contradictory, but if you suffer, you will find they come together as they did in the life of Christ.   

An old Christian used to say to me, “When they lead you away to jail, tell yourself you are merely going with Christ to the Garden of Gethsemane, and to the Cross.” To the Garden, and to the Cross. I liked that. I tested it. It’s true…    

So that is why suffering Christians appear to speak out of “both sides of their mouth.” On the one hand we talk of joy and endurance. On the other hand, there is anger at God, pain and a feeling of spiritual desertion. They sit together, because there is always a war of different feelings and emotions; that although we are angelically strengthened and the recipients of superhuman forgiveness, we also experience a sense of spiritual abandonment as a result of our human incomprehension.    

But the greatest thing of all is to walk the way of Christ. That is the privilege of suffering: to suffer a little as our Lord Jesus suffered. As He identified with us by suffering pain, so some are called to identify even more closely with Him by going into the Garden, and onto the Cross. Never fear, my friends, when you are arrested. You will receive strength. You will also be bewildered. Think of Christ, and follow him into the Garden, and onto the Cross.    

For the next three days we will listen to his contrasting explanation of the Garden and the Cross; angelic strengthening; superhuman forgiveness; and human incomprehension.  

RESPONSE: Today I will walk with Jesus whether into the Garden or onto the Cross.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord, that You strengthen Your people in preparation for our suffering and even during it.

STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM (SSTS) -A daily devotional message by Paul Estabrooks
© 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission

“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” Proverbs 10:25

Right now millions of Christians face persecution because of their faith in Christ. Register to receive the Open Doors USA Weekly Prayer Alert email. Join alongside thousands of others praying for our brothers and sisters worldwide to stand strong in the midst of their struggles. Also learn more about countries where the persecution of Christians is most severe by visiting the Open Doors website today.

Archives

Follow Crosswalk.com