Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Comfort for Dis-abled Heart!

A number of years ago I drove from Richmond up to Northern Virginia to watch two of my nephews in a wrestling match.  I had never been to a wrestling match before so had no idea what I was getting into.  It was a regional competition so there were many competitors there.  As I sat in the stands looking out over a pretty large gymnasium, it occurred to me that the wrestlers resembled worms wiggling after a spring rain ALL OVER the gym floor!  Except that my nephews were somewhere in the mix, I could hardly imagine being there.

As I understand it, the object of the match is to maneuver your opponent in such a way that he cannot twist out of your hold and actually is pinned to the mat for a certain count.  In professional wrestling there are throws that apply techniques involving lifting the opponent and throwing or slamming him down.  I am certainly no expert, but none of it looked like something I personally wanted to do.  It wasn't even something I was all that eager to watch on any regular basis!

This morning I ran across a verse in John 14 (The Message). I'm thinking that my limited experience with wrestling may provide some clues to the meaning:  Don't let this throw you. You trust God, don't you? Trust Me.  These are the words of Jesus (vs. 1).  He spoke them to His disciples on the night before His crucifixion.  Quite possibly He spoke them as they walked along following the Passover meal they had eaten together on that Thursday evening.  They were on their way to a garden of olive trees tucked away on the western slope of the Mt. of Olives. 

I don't know if the words follow chapter 13 in exact sequence. Perhaps so; perhaps not.  (Note:  Chapter and verse divisions were not part of the original text.)  Chapter 13 ends with Peter's declaration that he wants to follow Jesus wherever He is going. Jesus tells Peter that he actually can't follow Him where He is going.  Peter is most insistent that he does want to follow the Master and that he is actually willing to die for his Master.  Jesus' response, Really? You'll lay down your life for me? The truth is that before the rooster crows, you'll deny me three times.

Chapter 14 begins, Don't let this throw you!  It struck me today that perhaps Jesus is referring to Peter's vulnerability and dis-ability to even stick up for Jesus in the few short hours of that night.  Perhaps Jesus is already encouraging Peter - not that it's okay not to stick up for Jesus, but that there will be life beyond that failure!  And the next words explain WHY:  You trust God, don't you?  Trust me.

For my dis-abled heart today I took comfort.  Life beyond failure is beyond me, but it is never beyond the ability of the One who is worthy of all trust and His Son Jesus!  When I trust Him with it ALL - all the failure, all the pain, all the seeming success, all the confidence, all the dis-ability THEN the implied promise is that it is never the end but rather the opportunity to begin again - not because of me, but because of the One who loves me and died to set me free!  Don't let this throw you! You trust God, don't you? Trust Me!

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