At the Crux of the Matter
Afterward He went up into the hills by Himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. - Matt. 14:23
Even though I like to fool myself into thinking I'm really in control of things, every day, within a few moments of waking, I find the stuff of life crowding into the driver's seat, grabbing the steering wheel, putting the pedal to the metal, and taking off, often times with me hanging on for dear life. The dog needs to be let out; I have to put the coffee on ... as I putter through my routine, thoughts start crowding in about family situations, work, things I have to do, things I want to do, questions that need answering. Then there are noises, voices, meetings, phone calls, e-mails, assignments, responsibilities, opportunities, needs, people to see, places to go and on it goes.
Sometimes, I get pulled along so fast, amid the hustle and bustle, the busyness and general chaos of life that the day passes without my even realizing it’s gone. I'm often pulled in a hundred different directions and seldom even mind or notice that I'm being stretched or that there's continual chatter going on around me and in my head. That is, until and unless catastrophe strikes.
Amazing how everything screeches to a halt at that point; extemporaneous noise fades into the background; and my life and focus become centered on that one thing. Your child has pneumonia. Your husband was killed this morning. You have cancer. Your daughter's been raped. Your mother's dying. I've received these notices and others in my life. At those times, more than maybe at any other, you realize that at the crux of the situation there are really just two of you ... you and God. There may be lots of others around, lots of people who'll lend a helping hand in your crisis ... family members, doctors, friends ... but at the heart of it, there's really just two who matter ... you and the One who made you, the One who IS in control, the One who's able. No one else is big enough, powerful enough, wise enough, loving enough ... no one else sees the whole picture ... no one else has all the answers ... no one else can really give you all you need ... no one else fully understands ... no one else can somehow redeem the nightmare and bring forth anything of value and purpose ...
Jesus knew that. He lived in the reality of that truth, moment by moment. The Scripture at the top of this page describes normal behavior for Christ. So, when He was faced with devastating circumstances, such as the beheading of his cousin, John the Baptist, or the death of his friend Lazarus, when crowds and demands started pushing and pulling, when He encountered hostility, rejection and unbelief, when He was in sore need of replenishing, He already had a pattern of pulling aside to the quiet, to the Source, to the only One who really mattered and could respond supernaturally as He poured out His heart.
You may already have some difficult circumstances in your life. If so, who are you going to turn to? Man can only help so much, and no matter how close a friend or relative you have, no human being has all you need for the deepest aches and fears in your heart. Only God does. He made you, and He knows even more about you than you do. He's also the only one who can put your situation into the larger context of your life and eternity. He's the only one who promises He can supply all your need through His riches in Christ Jesus. He's the only one who can take what was meant to destroy you and bring something redemptive out of it, something of value.
There's an old saying that there are no atheists in foxholes. What people know is true when you're being shot at and life is on the line, is just as true in the daily grind of life ... what's true in the disasters is just as true when life is going well. It's just up to each of us to recognize it and develop the same pattern of behavior as Jesus ... afterward He went up into the hills by Himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. Matt. 14:23