I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. (Luke 12:50)
Relate: Just before I sat down to read and start writing this, I made a phone call I didn’t want to. I had two things on my schedule for tomorrow for the same time and I had to call one to let him know I wasn’t going to be there. He’s not a fan of changes of schedule or such and so I’d actually put off making the call for a few hours. When I finally did, he said, “Oh, OK. Well, I’ll see you when I see you.” I had built up so many mental rationalizations and arguments to soothe him and none were needed. It was so easy.
It isn’t always that way but I find more often than not the fear can be worse than the fact. We are told not to worry, but I personally don’t think it’s a sin unless we are so overwhelmed, or caught up in it that it incapacitates us. For a while after a major accident (see Testimony Time) my body would cringe at certain intersections but I still got behind the wheel. Memory of past experiences and knowledge of future events can sometimes make a level of worry natural and even healthy.
React: If ever a person had a right to worry, it was Jesus as the day of the cross drew closer. Usually our worry is worse than the thing we fear, but sometimes that thing can be worse. For Him it must have been far worse. The pain and the suffering would be bad enough. It would be far more than I could bear. But what I think gnawed on Jesus’ mind the most was the fact that, although He was without sin, He would become sin so that we could be forgiven. Can You imagine the weight of that. Over and over He is saying, “I and my Father are one.” The closeness, the unity between the two is like nothing we can experience. And on the cross it will be severed.
I am so grateful that Jesus did not allow that worry to incapacitate Him. I am glad that He said, in effect, “Worry, You will not stop me.” He was burdened down with anticipation, but He continued to shoulder that burden until the very end. Now He has called me to do the same. Witnessing to my neighbor or coworker might cause me worry. What will they say or do? Maintaining integrity in a business decision might cause me to lose a promotion. Will they think I have lost my edge? In a fallen world, there will be times when doing the right thing might have negative consequences. Jesus is proof of that. Jesus himself said He has not come to bring peace but a sword. He said that following him might divide families. He said in this world we will have trouble. But he has also said He has overcome this world.
God, I thank You that anticipation did not keep You from walking to the cross. Thank You for carrying that burden so that I don’t have to. Help me to live in Your example. Whether my fear is justified or not, help me to move forward in spite of it. Do not let past experiences or future fears ever incapacitate me from doing what is right. Give me the courage to be obedient to You.