February 5, 2015
When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities. And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
When I first professed Jesus as my lord and savior, I was convinced everything was going to change. I was going to be happier, have more and never be burdened or bothered again. Yep...that was about right. When I lost my car that same week, I was confused. But I was convinced that I'd get my car back. I did, for a short moment, but ended up losing it for good, after I drove it with a hole in the oil pan. I was very confused and seriously thought I'd never experience a bad moment in life again. Clearly, I did not read the book.
Jesus suffered, so of course we would suffer also. I noticed that after becoming a Christ follower, I was delivered from a few things pretty quickly. For example, after about three months of being a Christian, I lost the desire to want to drink and party. Some other things lingered behind. A couple of those things are anger and impatience.
I can get a bit snippy with people at times. I might have ugly thoughts in my mind about them. Or have a passive aggressive attitude with them. As much as God has delivered me, and the fact that I still struggle with certain sin is only proof that I am still in need of a savior.
I did some serious soul searching about this the other day. The office I work in is often very busy. I have lots of work to do. There are times when I get 3-6 assignments back to back, and I begin feeling overwhelmed because so many things are coming at me like a semi automatic rifle. I want to duck and move out of the way, but apparently, I am too slow. Too caught up in everything I have to do. And that usually stresses me out. So when students come to hang out or to chat, I can always tell when I'm busy working on something. I am very short with them, and also less warm than usual. I also may ignore them because I am trying to complete the work tasks that I've been given.
The other day, I was working with a student on a paper--which by the way, I don't usually do--she was taking more time than I thought she should. I tried to be helpful, but I just didn't have a lot of time to dedicate to her. I had many unfinished projects from my director, and her boss and her other boss. I was almost to the point of breaking. I kept having thoughts like, "Hurry up!" "This isn't even my job!" "I don't understand why you asked me to do this! There are TWO student centers within minutes from my office. They actually get PAID to help you!!"
I was doing my best to take lots of deep breaths, and not show my agitation. Then I had a couple of thoughts that really sobered my angry mind. If this was Aron, and he wanted help from someone, how would I want them to treat him? She obviously came to me for a reason. This thought cut me deep. Then I had another thought. If Jesus was here, what would he say about my behavior? Was I a reflection of Him to her? Could she see how annoyed I was? I had to take a time out and regroup.
Why are we so human at times? I wondered. Why couldn't things just be easy, and God take all this ugliness away and replace it with patience and love? But there is a reason God doesn't take all our afflictions from us. There is a reason God doesn't take us right up to Heaven when we become saved. He leaves us here for a reason. We are to be the reflection to people that expresses, Although I am saved by God's grace, I am still a mess. I may be broken, but His love fills the broken places in my life.
In Matthew 14, Jesus learns of His cousin, John's death. When He learns of John's demise, He goes away to be in solitude. But that doesn't happen. A multitude of followed Him. Jesus did not respond with aggravation and anger, He had compassion. And He healed many of their sick. No matter what Jesus was on His way to do, He always took time to help those that came to Him for help. Maybe I don't have the skill set to assist a student with a physics project, but if they come to me asking for help, I am to be like the example Christ showed, and have compassion.
We are to be the difference. We are to be the light. That light is to shine brightly, so that people are attracted to our light, so that they can ask what it is that is different about us. Thus we have the opportunity to share the hope that we have in Jesus. Things are not easy breezy. This is with purpose from God. He doesn't promise us easy when we begin following Christ. He just promises that He'll never leave or forsake us.
Giving our lives to Jesus is an incredible moment. It is a moment of transformation. Through Jesus and the gospel, we are changed. We become new creations. Some things we used to do, God takes from us (drinking). Other things, we may struggle with for a time, or for as long as we are on this side of eternity. Though it would be great not to struggle with any sin after giving our life to Christ, having to deal with some of those things on a daily basis is a sweet reminder that no matter how mature I become in my faith, I will forever be in need of a savior.