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Devotionals

The Crushing Place

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My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2: 20 (NLT)

 

And He gave Himself shortly after Gethsemane. The crushing place is also the refining place. The place of purification. Olives are crushed for their oil. Grapes for their juice. For their essence to be fully realized, the crushing process is necessary. Each time Jesus prayed in Gethsemane He presented His concerns to God. He knew what was to come. He knew He would be tortured and crucified. He knew that the Father would turn His back on Him when He assumed the sin of the world. Yet for each time He asked for the cup to pass from Him, Jesus always finished His prayer by asserting the priority of the will of God over His own. In a very real sense the Gethsemane experience for Christ was an emptying of the last of His will and the overflowing of the Father's will in His spirit before He faced Calvary. From this point forward, we see the resolution in Jesus to carry out the will of the Father. His doubt and agony led to Gethsemane the crushing place. His crushing led to Him accepting the plan of God. The plan of God led to the redemption of mankind.

 

I wish I had the answer why bad things happen to good people. I wish I knew why the Jared Loughner's of the world open fire into our collective sense of security. I do not know why Congresswoman Giffords lies in a hospital room and why nine year old Christina-Taylor Greene is no longer with us. But I do know this much. I know that it is wholly possible for man to be inherently evil while God remains unwaveringly good. I know that the depravity we see from man every day does not mean that God is somehow an absentee landlord. In fact, it is these incidents that remind me of how gracious God is. Of how deep and wide His mercy truly extends. Because while God had His only son sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, I was still a sinner. While God was telling His only son, "no, the cup is yours and it cannot pass from you", I was still a sinner. When my flesh was still weak, the spirit of God was still willing. For that, Gethsemane must be a place where we draw closer to God during the crushing not where we allow the enemy to speak doubt into our hearts. The darkness within the hearts of man can never triumph:

 

The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1: 4-5 (NLT)

 

It was through the life of Jesus Christ that light penetrated the darkness of this world. That light cannot be extinguished because it lives in you and me and all who call on the name of Jesus Christ for salvation. According to Jesus, we are now the light of the world. That light penetrates any darkness the world may throw at us. It pierces into the Garden of Gethsemane we all face from time to time in our walk before God. It penetrates that crushing place in our lives. When we try to make sense of the senseless. When the weight of it all seems too unbearable. When we come face to face with the true darkness in man, even within ourselves.

 

It is at those moments that God wants us alone in His garden. He wants us to rely upon Him even more in prayer. He wants us to be even more persistent in prayer. Not so much for the answer as it is for the strengthening of the relationship. For the deepening of faith. So that when we walk out of the crushing place we are even more resolved to do the will of the Father. More resolved to spread the Gospel message of love and salvation for all who call upon the name of Jesus Christ. More resolved to be light to the world that sees nothing but the darkness wrought by Jared Loughner.

 

May God continue to heal Congresswoman Giffords as a testimony to His miraculous power.

 

 

Reverend Anthony Wade January 11, 2011

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