It's been a rough week. But I guess this was a rough week for Jesus, too, 2012 years ago. To put it mildly.
Night terrors, sleep apnea, and relentless insomnia are making a soup of my brain and body. My chest aches, and I push myself to prepare another cup of coffee, in the hopes that I might manage three hours of writing today. I'm weeks behind on my work deadlines.
But I guess that's beside the point. On this sacred day, instead of awakening and bowing my head in reverence and gratitude to my Savior, for giving up His life for me on a Cross 2012 years ago, I emerged from bed with curses on my lips, foul language and accusations against my God. The enemy took advantage of my sleep deprivation to cast me into a litany of lies and melodramatic pleas to God to heal me or take me out of this world.
What demon has taken over my mind today, on this Good Friday? What part of me doesn't understand what Jesus purchased for me at Calvary, and the power that He has given me to overcome?
Opposing thoughts rage in my biochemically-imbalanced brain. It seems God has allowed an army of ten thousand demons to come against me, but where is He as their arrows fly fast and furious towards me? In my delusion, I accuse Him of just standing by and watching, as the arrows penetrate my heart. He waits for me to do something that I decide I cannot do, because the battle against my flesh is too strong.
"Take my thoughts captive, God?" I rail at Him. "You try that when you haven't slept for the better part of five months!" In self-righteousness I build a case against my Lord- as if that should convince Him to pull back Satan's army. As if my begging will move Him to shift a little pinky in my favor.
Yet, in exalting the flesh against the power of His Spirit, and by accusing Him of withholding His love and healing from me, I'm like the mockers who spit on Him when He died 2012 years ago on a Cross at Calvary. But instead of clamoring, "Save yourself, if you are the King of the Jews!" my angry words are, "Jesus, heal me, if you love me so much!" Even as, with tears rolling down His face, and his body hanging limply on a Cross, He softly replies, "I am."
And so it is. I turn up my nose at the lashing of His body, and I spit on the nails in His hands. I turn my back on His anguish and the tears that roll down His face. I shrug my shoulders in indifference, as He cries out to the Father, "Why have you forsaken me?" Figuratively, I do all of this when I treat His sacrifice as if it purchased nothing for me but a free ticket into Eternity.
He has all power to heal me now. But He has also given me all power to be healed by the Holy Spirit, who dwells within me because of His death and resurrection.
He who lives within me was not free. The gift of the Spirit came at the expense of a body and soul that were torn asunder by the world's sin. He came to live in me, and in all who would believe in Jesus' sacrifice. Without His death on the Cross, I-we, would have no power to overcome the devil and the flesh.
It cost me nothing to receive the power of Immanuel- or, "God within me(us)," but it cost God everything. It cost Jesus His life. And yet I exalt the devil and His work above that of my Savior when I curse and accuse.
I mock His sacrifice when I accuse Him of not helping me. He helped me 2012 years ago when He died and was resurrected on the third day. I mock Him when I beg Him to heal me, because that healing was already given, way back when...
I feel His tears today as I shed my own, as He longs for me to understand, for my sake and others, what it cost Him to give me the power to be set free and to have life Eternal with Him.
But, like so many others, I am deceived into thinking that what is real is what I feel, and experience. I am reticent to believe that He within me can overcome a mind and body that have been sickened by a thousand and one sleepless nights; that He whom I cannot see isn't greater than the effects of this world upon my body; that though I am outnumbered in my battle against the flesh, I only need One of Him to overcome the multitudes that rage against me.
The depression remains. But He who remains in me admonishes me to overcome. Because one day I will truly get it- and when I do, no shadow of disease or insomnia will be able to stand within six million miles of me.
Forgive me, Jesus, for what I don't understand. Forgive me for standing among the crowds that forsook you, spit on you, and mocked you. Forgive me for my irreverence and lack of gratitude. I will never know how much it cost You, to take my sins upon You, on that Cross. I will never know, this side of Heaven, the immense and amazing price you paid for me, so that I might have life, here and in the Hereafter. But yes, I know...you don't condemn me for my cursing and accusations. If you did, then Your work would have been for naught.
Thank You, Jesus, for your great mercy and love towards me. Thank You, for dying for all of humanity, 2012 years ago, that we might be freed from all manner of sickness, soul wounds and the power of sin. Teach us that You gave up Your life, not only so that we might live with you in Eternity, but so that we might bring Heaven to Earth today, and every day. May we know that Your authority has been given to us because of Your work on the Cross, and that we all have power to destroy the works of the devil, to set captives free, and to open the eyes of the blind...
Open my eyes, Lord, that I may see, and be healed. Open my heart, that I would daily hold sacred your sacrifice, and not take for granted all that was given to me, 2012 years ago...and today. Amen.