LIBERATION FROM DESPERATIONEmail | Print

Date: Mar 27, 2007   Previous | Next

CHRIST THE CONQUEROR #2

LIBERATION FROM DESPERATION



  Why would a mother abandon her newborn baby and then lie about it to blame somebody else? Only God knows the full story. One thing for sure—she must have been feeling desperate.

  Most of us would never think of doing anything like that. But we all know what it’s like to feel desperation. What is it in your life that might make you feel like pushing the panic button?

  Are you desperate for money? Need a decent job? Freedom from guilt? Do you yearn for honest-to-goodness love in your life? Are you longing for healing? Deliverance of some kind? Desperate for respect and understanding?

  Jesus understands. Long ago He predicted the type of trauma that leaves us desperate. He even experienced it Himself—and overcame it. We read in the Gospel of John 16 verse 33: “In the world you will have tribulation. But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” So Jesus says there will be trouble—that’s the bad news. But the good news is that God doesn’t leave us drowning in desperation. Why? Because Jesus has overcome.

  So how does Christ’s victory 2,000 years ago translate into good news for desperate people in the 21st century? Let’s talk about that. Remember yesterday’s discussion about how Jesus came as Son of Man, God in the flesh, subject to all our difficulties. And much more! You can’t read too far into the gospels before you find Jesus under attack. Every day of Christ’s life was a battle. How did He survive and thrive? No secret, really. Let’s read about it in Mark 1:35: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”

  Jesus prayed. Why, you might wonder. Wasn’t He God in the flesh? Yes, but He also lived here as a human, one of us. By faith in God’s promises that He claimed in prayer, Jesus defeated the devil. His was not an easy life. The Bible describes Christ as “a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” Isaiah 53:3. He coped and conquered through power He received in prayer.

  Passionate prayer. Persevering prayer. Overcoming prayer. That’s how Jesus conquered the kingdom of Satan as Son of God and Son of Man.

  The humanity of Jesus is highlighted in one of His frequently-mentioned titles: “Son of David.” Many generations back in Messiah’s family tree, David was famous as a man after God’s own heart. The Lord Himself described him that way.

  David’s heart cries to God are recorded in the biblical book of Psalms. These same prayers comforted Jesus a thousand years later during His life on earth. Christ even prayed from the Psalms while hanging on the cross. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me!” Matthew 27:46. He was repeating Psalm 22. Then Jesus with His dying breath cried: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Luke 23:46. This was from Psalm 31, another prayer David wrote in his own desperate times.

  David, you may know, was the famous giant killer—the teenager who saved God’s people from Goliath. For that, King Saul gave the young hero his beautiful daughter as a bride. You might think David lived happily ever after as an honored member of the royal family.

  But no. The proud king becomes jealous at his son-in-law’s popularity. He doesn’t appreciate second billing behind the slingshot kid. Raging with jealousy, he hurls his spear at David. The young man escapes to the wilderness. There hiding in a cave, he prays: “Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.” Psalm 142:6.

  David confides to a friend: "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, there is only a step between me and death." 1 Samuel 20:3.

  Have you ever lived with just a step between you and death? Maybe not physical death. Perhaps the death of your marriage. Maybe the demise of your finances, or the loss of that once in a lifetime opportunity. In his crisis hour David turns to His Father in heaven for help: "Deliver me from my enemies, O God; protect me from those who rise up against me.” “Arise to help me.” Psalm 59:1,4. Then desperation gives way to triumphant faith as David triumphantly declares: “But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” Verse 16.

  Praise God! Whatever our desperate situation, we too can find refuge in His mercy. In our darkest hour we can express our faith in the Lord and even sing about His power to save us.

  Well, back to David, the ancestor of Jesus Christ and man after God’s heart. The citizens of a city he had risked his life to rescue now are willing to betray him into Saul's hand. Talk about gratitude! David has to hit the road again.

  David in desperation pours out his heart to God in words captured by Psalm 54:1 "Save me, O God, by Your name; vindicate me by Your might." Recalling how God had delivered him time and time again, he takes courage and declares, "Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” Verse 4.

  In living faith David even claims the promised deliverance as already received as his: "I will praise your name, O Lord, for it is good. For he has delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.” Verse 7.

  That's faith, wouldn't you say?

  Despite his remarkable trust in God, David feels terribly lonely there in the wilderness, cut off from his new wife and loved ones. He laments his solitude in these touching words: "I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof.” Psalm 102:7.

  Time and again David begins a Psalm in total desperation. Often he's afraid or sad. Sometimes he is furious. He frequently vents some not-so-nice opinions about his enemies. That bothers some people, but actually these angry Psalms have a purpose too. God wants to show us He can relate to struggling sinners no matter what mood we find ourselves in. Whether we feel mad, sad, bad or glad, God loves us just the same and invites us to talk with Him.

  Sometimes David even is upset at God, and at times he imagines God to be mad at him. But sooner or later in the Psalm God settles him down and fills his heart with praise and peace.

  Some Christians don=t feel comfortable talking with God when upset about something. But really, that’s when we need prayer most! Confused and unworthy though we are, we always can approach God with confidence through the blood of Jesus. Nothing prevents the mercy and power of God from reaching out to us under even the most desperate circumstances.

  Finally, weary of life’s struggle, David laments in prayer: “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” Psalm 55:6. Years later, Jesus perhaps had this particular verse in mind when He extended the gracious invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. No matter what the problem is, we can come boldly to Him for mercy and grace to help us.

  That’s happens when we pray. We call upon Christ the conqueror in every time of need.

  Life is tough, and we had better get used to it. It’s going to get worse before it gets better, says the book of Revelation: “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time." Revelation 12:12/NKJ.

  So the devil’s furious. Why? He has just a short time left, and he’s desperate about that. Well, good. In a little while Jesus will come and rescue us from this troubled world. Meanwhile, in our own times of desperation, take courage: God never—ever—leaves us alone. And soon we’ll we with Him in heaven. I can hardly wait for that day. How about you! Come Lord Jesus!



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