through His Word
by Katy Kauffman
I knew Jesus was strong, but this Easter week I “see” it ever more clearly. And I love Him all the more for it. If ever there was a perfect “storm”—a combination of turbulent circumstances and heart-wrenching emotion—it happened in the Garden of Gethsemane. And it happened because of you and me.
He loved us. But He loved His Father too, and didn’t want to be separated from Him on the cross. Bearing our sin meant that Jesus would have to be separated from the other two persons of God—the Father and the Holy Spirit. It meant that He whose essence is love, would bear all that was void of love—all of our sin, guilt, and shame. It meant that the One who had perfectly walked on this earth—never accepting a bad thought, harboring a bad attitude, or initiating a bad habit—would bear the consequence of every depraved thought, hateful feeling, and addiction.
The “storm” in Jesus’ circumstances was coming at a barreling speed. Judas had left the upper room before the end of the Lord’s Supper to betray Jesus’ location to the religious leaders. They were on their way to arrest Him with swords and clubs and a massive crowd. A series of trials would ensue. False witnesses and hard hearts would convict Jesus of blasphemy. Truth would be twisted into a lie. And Jesus’ disciples would run for their lives.
The storm in Jesus’ heart raged on as He knew the cross was His mission, the very reason why He was born. Yet the thought of separation from God caused an inner battle. The word agony in the following verse means “a struggle for victory.”1 See how much this agony affected Him.
“And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly.
Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
Luke 22:44 NKJV
When we wonder if someone has felt as much agony as we do in a storm of life, we can turn to Luke 22 and see what Jesus suffered. His mental and emotional state was so excruciating that His pores likely dilated, allowing blood to mingle with sweat.2 Agony.
Yet what did He say to the Father during this perfect storm? When so much was at stake, when the eternal future of every soul was on the line, Jesus surrendered to the Father’s will.
“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me;
nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”
Matthew 26:39 NKJV
God can see the big picture. Salvation of all mankind was at stake in the garden that night. Today, when we go through storms, God can see the good He is working in our circumstances. Will we trust Him to do His good work? Will we believe that the storm will only last as long as it is needed? Will we find shelter in God’s wings and comfort in His love for us?
Not what I will, God, but what You will. We survive a perfect storm by surrendering our plans, desires, and agendas to God, and trusting in Him and His perfect plan. His methods for achieving good may not be what we expected or would have asked for, but since God Himself is love in its perfection, we can believe that the good that He is working, will outshine the pain.
It did for Jesus. He didn’t give in to the despair of the agony. He moved forward, and even found joy.
“Let us run with endurance …
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him
endured the cross,
despising the shame, and has sat down
at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV
What joy? Reconciling every believing soul to God. Providing a way for us to be forgiven, changed, and rescued. Walking in fellowship with us, in unity. Leading a spiritual army to fight unseen battles and rescue hearts that didn’t even know they needed rescuing.
God turns agony into joy when we lay aside what we want in the moment and choose to follow Him whatever the cost. Because Jesus did that, we have reason to celebrate this weekend. When we follow His example and choose in favor of God’s will above our own, we will discover hope again and reason to live and persevere. We will see Him do things only He can do.
What do you love about Jesus’ strength? How does He inspire you to persevere in your own circumstances? Tell us in the comments below, and look for the joy. Look for what God is doing and trust Him to help you weather this storm.
1 Larry Pierce, The Online Bible, CD-ROM (Winterbourne, Ontario: Larry Pierce, 2007), Luke 22:44.
2 Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke’s Commentary, quoted in Phil Lindner, Power Bible CD, CD-ROM (Bronson, Mich.: Online Publishing, Inc., 2007), Luke 22:44.
© Copyright 2018 by Katy Kauffman
Katy Kauffman treasures the word of God and the hope, peace, and strength it provides. Her Bible studies focus on winning life’s spiritual battles, and she has taught the Bible to women and teens. She is an award-winning author, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies. She loves spending time with family and friends, making jewelry, and hunting for the best peanut butter cookies. She makes her home in a cozy suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.
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This post is a part of our Calming the Storms Within Series. Check out our other posts so far:
- Calming the Storms Within (Introduction) by Katy Kauffman
- Building Faith through the Storms of Life by Jennifer DeFrates
- Jewell: From Tragedy to Victory by Katherine M. Pasour
Easter, Jesus, the cross, the Survivor of the Perfect Storm, Calming the Storms Within, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies