There were moments in the midst of Eliza’s deepest pain that I begged Him to take her home. I couldn’t stand to see her suffering so deeply and I knew she would be better off in His arms, but He encouraged my heart to keep coming to Him on her behalf—that she would have life, His life both here and there in eternity. I longed for her to be protected from pain, to make it stop, but if God didn’t withhold His own Son from suffering, how could I do any less?
Hebrews 5:7-9 gives us a glimpse a rare glimpse into the personal life of Jesus, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once make perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him. . .” If God’s own Son lived a life crying out to His Father for help in the midst of His suffering, not just on the cross but in everyday living, then how much more so do I need to cry out to my Father in the midst of my own struggles? What a beautiful picture and example Jesus is to us in these verses – He learned submission through suffering!! Do I really think I can learn submission apart from it? Why do I run from suffering when it holds such rich hope in following Jesus? That I may learn to be obedient and submissive to the only One worth living for!
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every-way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16
Jesus set an example for us of approaching the throne of grace. He didn’t require mercy from His Father since He never sinned, but He sure needed God’s grace to help Him overcome as is pictured in the Hebrews 5 verses—He was tempted in every-way, yet was without sin. I’ve heard these verses explained in relation to mountain climbing. Once we’ve accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, having professed our sinful state and need for salvation, God gives us His Spirit and word as equipment to begin our mountain climb towards knowing Jesus better, our sanctification. There will be many times in our journey when we slip and fall, losing our grip and tumbling back to the base of the mountain. But, not all hope is lost! This is when God sends us His ambulance of mercy—the gift of healing and cleansing from our wrongdoing. We receive the beautiful gift of not receiving the just punishment we deserve for our sin as He cleanses our self inflicted wounds and sends us back to the mountain. As we continue to climb, we begin to learn how to ‘find grace to help us in our time of need’ (Heb 4:16) when we begin to feel ourselves slipping, we can call out to God for help and in His grace, an unmerited favor, He will reach down and help us to climb. He will help us to overcome our greatest barriers as we cry out for His help! We need His grace to overcome. Jesus’ life was a living example of one overcoming through the power of God’s grace. Jesus didn’t overcome sin by using His ‘God’ powers – He was fully man, like us. He showed us how to walk with the Father in continual grace! The question these verses beg us to answer in retrospect, am I seeking to live in God’s mercy or grace? Do I desire to overcome through God’s grace or am I content to live in His mercy?
“We. . . plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1) The grace you had yesterday will not be sufficient for today. Grace is the overflowing favor of God, and you can always count on it being available to draw upon as needed. “…in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses”—that is where our patience is tested (6:4). Are you failing to rely on the grace of God there? Are you saying to yourself, “Oh well, I won’t count this time”? It is not a question of praying and asking God to help you—it is taking the grace of God now. We tend to make prayer the preparation for our service, yet it is never that in the Bible. Prayer is the practice of drawing on the grace of God. Don’t say, “I will endure this until I can get away and pray.” Pray now—draw on the grace of God in your moment of need. Prayer is the most normal and useful thing; it is not simply a reflex action to your devotion to God. We are very slow to learn to draw on God’s grace for prayer.”
“The Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). Then why should we ask? The point of prayer is not to get answers from God, but to have perfect and complete oneness with Him. If we pray only because we want answers, we will become irritated and angry with God. We receive an answer every time we pray, but it does not always come in the way we expect, and our spiritual irritation shows our refusal to identify ourselves truly with our Lord in prayer. We are not here to prove that God answers prayer, but to be living trophies of God’s grace.” -My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers, The Cross in Prayer, August 6th