What a week! Blowing winds, sunshine, severe storms, and temperatures ranging from the seventies to the thirties blew in last week. It also was a week of celebrating the journey of Jesus walking to the cross. The beginning of the week was front-loaded with royal fanfare, moving toward the conviction that led to death on a cross and ending with new life found in the Risen Savior.
Those events alone are enough to bring a person to their knees but on top of everything else, we find ourselves living in a unique season of isolation due to a pandemic. As crazy as life feels right now, I believe that God scripted every detail. He knew and yet He is still with us. Our response is “what a week” but God’s response is ” do you believe I am still in control”?
Your Suffering is not for Nothing
My mind and heart are still dragging their feet through the events of last week. Holy Week takes seven days to tell the story of Jesus’ final week on Earth. In my own reflections, seven days does not seem to be enough. Those seven days take us through such a gamut of emotions that my heart needs more time to catch up with what my mind is processing.
The rejoicing followed by the heaviness of Jesus’ unbearable suffering and ending with pure praise for His resurrection are remnants that my heart needs to sift one by one. I have never been good at turning on and off my emotions quickly for the good of the situation at hand.
Maybe you feel the same leftover emotions that linger and won’t let go. Maybe your current season has you stuck in a cycle of heaviness. Or emotions just naturally remain at the surface while you sort through them.
Your suffering is not for nothing. The deep highs and lows of life are real and it’s okay to take the time to sift, sort, and grieve.
Jesus Suffered Too!
Jesus proves His humanness throughout the Gospels but it is never more evident than during Holy Week. In Luke 22, Jesus leaves the room where the disciples are gathered with Jesus for the Last Supper. Jesus steals away for some quiet time with His Father. In this account from Luke, we read:
He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood (Luke 22:41-44, NLT).
Jesus also cries out these words in Matthew 27:46-47
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
Jesus knew that His suffering was not for nothing but in the moment He cried out to God with “why have you abandoned me?” the spiritual separation from His Father was unbearable.
We live in a world that is unrecognizable by our usual standards. Our first instinct is to cry out “why?” and demand answers. But what if in this time, we waited patiently knowing that in our pain, through the unanswered questions, and the suffering of not being with our people, God is still with us? What if the promise that rings loud on Good Friday that Sunday’s comin’ becomes our hope in the midst of our unknown future?If I have learned one thing this past week, it is that God holds the disparity of death and resurrection in one hand. #whataweek #TellHisStory #Godisincontrol #linkup Click To Tweet
God is in Control
My current longing is to know without a doubt that God is in control. The sense of deep knowing in the core of my being that there is nothing that will sway me away from God’s truth. It is the thought, “I know that I know that I know because God is who He says He is”. You, too??
But in the same breath …
I have described myself as someone who desires complete control from beginning to end. It is the belief that I can finish a task best on my own because I know what I’m doing. I hope you are shaking your head in disbelief at the moment. As much as I think I can control a situation God has other plans.
I wrestle with the tension of taking control and releasing it at the same time. God knows this about you and me. He is patient and willing to let us make mistakes before we realize that without Him we cannot manage on our own.
Last week was not only Holy Week but personally challenged me as I wanted to just be done with shelter in place. The overarching feelings were “overwhelm” and “over it”! Thank goodness God always has something better in store.
What a week!
If I have learned one thing this past week, it is that God holds the disparity of death and resurrection in one hand. It is knowing that there are times that we live in a “both/and” world and this is one of those times.
Let’s face this week together. Let’s believe God is strong enough to hold both our fear and joy, our lack of control and peace, and our doubt and hope.
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
One of the best resources I recommend for this uncertain world we live in is Jennifer Dukes Lee’s book and Bible study, It’s All Under Control. Click HERE and HERE to get your own copies. (Affiliate links)
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Yes, what a week! I’ve had moments of intense emotions and recognize it’s all part of this experience. Pressing into Jesus. So good to visit your lovely blog again. I’m loving having a little more time to visit my bloggy-friends again!
What a joy to see you here today, Ginger! I pray you are doing well. I am joining you in pressing into Jesus. He is our Hope and comfort during this uncertain season. I also hope to see you around the blogosphere more often.
Our suffering is never for nothing. And I love the song you ended with. A great earworm for me today.
Don’t you just love, In Christ Alone? It is one of my favorite songs. I am resting today in knowing nothing is wasted in God’s kingdom.
Hi Mary … know that God hasn’t changed one single bit, that His character and love and wisdom and grace are matchless has given me a sense of peace knowing that none of what we’re experiencing is a surprise to Him.
He loves us so …
Thank you for speaking such words of truth to all of us. God is unchanging and I know that as He writes each of our stories that this chapter called “Pandemic” was determined even before we were born. I am standing with you believing that God is our source of peace and comfort.
Thank you so much for reminding us of these truths, Mary! And the picture of you peeking through the window at the end just about melted my heart. Thank you for this! You are a true light in this season of uncertainty as you remind us of where to fix our eyes and put our trust!
It’s so good to see you here, Stacey. I am grateful for the covering of the Father during these uncertain times. It is because of Him that we all have hope to shine through the darkness.
It’s always reassuring when we realize our suffering is not for nothing. I’m ready to be “over it” too but still having to sort through my grief and loss, while looking forward with hope too. Thanks, Mary.
Thanks for recognizing with me that “over it” is an emotion. Luckily, I don’t feel like this every day. I am joining you in seeking an understanding of my own grief and hoping that on the other side we all come out changed for the better.
I’m feeling the both/and right now too, Mary. It occurred to me when I was driving home from the grocery store that I was feeling at peace (for the time being anyway) but also sad because of the empty spaces all around me. Thank you for articulating what it seems many of us are feeling this week after Easter.
The best way I can describe how I am feeling is in terms of both/and. It can hit when we see the familiar and find our=t they are not familiar anymore. Thank you for sharing and being here.
“Your suffering is not for nothing. The deep highs and lows of life are real and it’s okay to take the time to sift, sort, and grieve.” Thank you for this, Mary. I think I’m having a harder time than I want to admit not being able to visit with and hug my grandkids. The picture of you and yours is priceless. It must be so hard for those little ones to understand. But oh, what an infinitely more painful separation it was for Jesus to be forsaken by His Father. Thank you for these thoughts. He knows what suffering is and His compassion and understanding are unlimited. Love and blessings to you!
I know that pain of separation from grandchildren. It is more than I can bear some days. I am praying that you feel the Father’s peace as we wait out this isolation period. May we gain a better understanding into how Jesus felt as He surrendered Himself on the cross in order to save us and reunite with His Father.
The more I come to understand Jesus’ sacrifice, the more incomprehensible it becomes. The weight and filth of every sin bearing down on Him, the severing of relationship with his Father, a love that incredible. I’m thankful He is a God who understands and rescues anyway.
Peace and grace,
The enormity of Jesus’ sacrifice is incomprehensible as you said above. To know that we are loved that deeply is beyond my thinking. I am joining you in gratitude for a God who not only loves us but is willing to save us more times than we deserve.
I relate to so much of this, Mary! Control is definitely an on-going struggle for me and I need to remind myself that God is in control and he knows what he’s doing far more than I do. “In Christ Alone” is one of my favourite songs for remembering that truth.
Thank goodness God is patient with us when we forget and try to take care of things in our own power. I also love “In Christ Alone”. The words are so powerful.
I love that song! So many great ones that I have heard, rehearsed and continue to sing this week! That picture with your buddy is too cute!!
I love seeing my grandson even from afar. It sounds like you are spending time in worship just as I am. Thank you for being here.
Love that song. Yes, it’s been a wild week. So glad that God can hold all our conflicting emotions and treats them all with grace.
It’s one of my favorite hymns, too. I am rejoicing with you that God carries us through the highs and lows and loves us through it all.
Yes! Here in the love of Christ we stand!
I’ve always thought suffering meant physical pain, but I’m beginning to see separation from loved ones is also a very real suffering. From that aspect, perhaps we are getting to see, in such a tiny portion, what suffering with Christ means.
What a week! What a month! But what a Savior! He is able to bring joy in the midst of everything else.
Thank you for bringing your perspective here today. I imagine most people think of pain as physical before they would describe it in another way. Separation from loved ones is a form of pain. I do wonder if what we are experiencing is a glimpse into understanding Jesus’ suffering a little more. Blessed to have you here, Jerrelea.
Mary, I am glad to know that I am not the only one who wrestles with “control” issues. I know that God is in control but I am such a control person. I found this line very encouraging: “Let’s believe God is strong enough to hold both our fear and joy, our lack of control and peace, and our doubt and hope.” Thank you!
You are not alone. I keep thinking that I should understand how this control thing works by now but I am a work in progress. Let’s hold onto the truth that God is strong enough for all of the “both/ands” that come into our lives.
Thank you for these beautiful words, Mary. Truly, Jesus does understand all of these conflicting emotions that are bombarding us. And He knows how to carry us through. I loved the photo of you and your grandson sharing love through a window. Love always finds a way! Blessings to you this week.
I am thankful for God’s generosity in carrying us when our emotions become too much. The picture of my grandson and me is so fitting for what we all are going through but as you said, it is one more reminder that nothing can separate us from the love of our Lord.
The picture of you and your grandson paint a picture of finding the joy even behind the glass window of separation. Jesus was separated from His Father when He took all the sin of the world upon Him. But then raised up and reunited! And what joy that brought! Death is the disconnection, life is the connection. Thanks for the reminder that He holds us in all things–joy, sadness, loneliness and hope.
The picture shows pure love. It’s the separation part that is so hard. I forget that Jesus also endured a physical, spiritual and emotional separation from His Father that was nothing like what I am experiencing. The reminder that Jesus is holding onto us shows me that I am holding onto Him just as tight.
Mary, I agree, one week is too short to contemplate the mystery of the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Blessings to you!
One week is not enough. God is not rushing us to process His promises or truth. He is just asking us to spend the time with Him. Blessings to you, too!
My week was a ‘what a week!’ kind of week for different reasons. I dropped my phone in a muddy wash and despaired of finding it (and was sure it wouldn’t work if I did). A passing truck threw a rock that left a half-dollar-sized chip in my car window. I lost my glasses while out walking and photographing flowers in the desert. All of these events reminded me that God is in control and he wants me to worry less about things and focus more on him and what he wants to do for me and my relationships with people. I found my phone, and it works like new after sitting in muddy water for over an hour. Insurance will replace my windshield. I found my glasses after two hours of searching. God is bigger than my problems.
Whew! My week was nothing compared to yours. I do love the happy ending of your mishaps. I am curious how you got your phone to work after sitting in muddy water. You are proof that we can rest in God’s strength and He is in control. Thank you for sharing!
I wonder if we’re all suffering from an Easter hangover. The weather and the news are conspiring to make me forget that resurrection gets the last word, even during a pandemic. Blessings to you, Mary, and thank you for your faithful-showing-up-with-words, even when the conditions become challenging.
Easter hangover is a good description. It feels more like winter where I live and that’s hard after enjoying some warmer temperatures. I love writing words and I love that you come by to read them. Thank you!!
Mary, this is beautiful. There’s so much truth in your words. Yesterday was a day when I just wanted it all to be done. I was struggling with one of our boys, with discouragement, with irritation. I had to come back to a place of yielding what I wanted to the Lord.
This: “I wrestle with the tension of taking control and releasing it at the same time. God knows this about you and me. ” Yes, this was probably kind of where I was yesterday. I continually have to remember Who’s in control and trust that His plans for me are good, even when I can’t see it. I’m pondering your wise words today, friend.
And, I am glad you were able to “see” your grandson. He’s getting so big!
I can relate to the “being done” feelings. I think I am doing well and then something switches quickly. Teenage boys can be the catalyst for so much good and so much frustration. I love that you turned to God when you were discouraged. Seeing my grandson from afar was good but felt harder when I left. Soon and very soon this will change.
Yes, we love that illusion of control, don’t we!
When in actual fact we have very little control over life events apart from our behavior, actions & reactions to those events 😉
Bless you Mary,
I do love control and you would think after 60 years on earth that I would have learned who is actually in charge. I am praying that you are well.
Thank you I appreciate your prayers Mary 😀
It has been a most unusual week. They joy of celebrating salvation and resurrection along with separation from the ones we usually celebrate with. I do believe God is in control and has a purpose in all He allows. It’s not always easy–it’s not usually easy to grow–but I know He is using it in our lives.
I love “In Christ Alone.”
It is not easy and I agree that the growth we will experience later will offset the pain we feel now. The separation from loved ones is the hardest part for me. I am blessed to know the Father who is in control and making things new.
I listen to In Christ Alone by Travis Cottrell at least once a day. It’s such a great hymn that’s getting me through this pandemic. God is in control!
I love the Travis Cottrell version of “In Christ Alone” the best too. I am praying for you as you lean on God, who already has it figured out.