[This is a guest post from Annie Lent. One of my favorite people. One of my favorite writers. Read more of her heart here.]
Maybe it’s because I have recently finished reading Exodus. Maybe it’s because I saw Zero Dark Thirty. Either or both, I cannot stop thinking about suffering.
I must admit, I am terrified of punishment, shame, torture. I am terrified of my need for comfort. I am ashamed of how much I fear suffering.
When I was younger, I used to read those books about Christian martyrs. I daydreamed about being killed for the sake of the gospel.
I determined within myself that I would not be ordinary.
I would go to the ends of the earth, to the places no one else wanted to go, eat the foods that other people would selfishly spit out. I would rescue children galore. I would make a difference.
And when someone came to me with a spear threatening me to deny Jesus or die. I would choose to die. No question.
Of course, this was all before I had any real idea of the depths of my sin, my selfishness, my ability to choose myself over God.
I remember reading Exodus when I was younger and really saw myself as the Moses in the story.
I thought of myself as the one person out of the many who would be the leader, the one with the faith in God, the one who would not back down. I (not so silently) judged the Israelites for not having faith enough to see that God was leading them, that He was in control, that they should be grateful for the manna and for the miracles of the water and the quail.
They had everything they needed, why did they want to go back to slavery?
And nearly every day, I ask myself the same thing: You have everything you need, why do you want to go back to slavery?
I deny Jesus every. single. day. I deny His provision. I reject His love. I ignore His counsel from scripture. I deny His power, His sovereignty, His truth, His rightness. I scowl at His discipline. I cower from His holiness.
How in the world do I think that I could withstand torture, interrogation, public humiliation, pain, isolation, starvation, or more if I cannot love and trust God with all of my comforts tucked around me?
Why do I believe that I would be like Moses in times of trial, when I live like the Israelites every day?
What makes me think that I would be any different in an actually difficult situation than I am in a comparatively great situation every day?
I wouldn’t be. I won’t be. I can’t be.
The hope is not that one day I will finally grow up and be stronger, more mature, better able to handle adversity, suffering, or lack of comfort.
The hope is that in the middle of my every day, I will rely fully upon the One who can do these things.
I forget that Jesus is my hope to be able to do anything. I forget that for me to be able to get up and read my Bible even though I am in the most foul mood known to man, is only possible via Jesus.
I forget that loving my friends who annoy me, or who hurt me, or who just can’t get it right is only possible via Jesus.
I forget that going to work every day, cleaning my house every day, loving my husband, taking care of my health, fighting depression, doing things that are hard, doing things that are easy, are only possible via Jesus.
Whether I am dealing with a small battle of daily frustration or suffering for the gospel by being called “silly” for my beliefs or by having my toenails pulled off, it’s only possible through Jesus.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16
Here’s to drawing near to the throne of grace to find mercy and grace to help me in my time of need. Here’s to me not only knowing, but believing that I can’t do it on my own. Here’s to me, looking to Jesus for help in the small things and the big things.
Here’s to me remembering this in the next five minutes when I am trying to go at it all alone…yet again.