[Jesus said] “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27-28)
When Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, He faced an imminent arrest, show trial, torture, and execution on a cross. Naturally, His heart was greatly disturbed. He confessed in the garden later that He did not want to suffer and die at the hands of men and carry the sins He did not commit, but He was dedicated to His Father and His will.
When faced with His greatest trial Jesus basically said “Should I ask God to save me from this? No. I was made for this hour! God, make yourself famous!” Wow.
How often do we Christians, we supposedly “little Christs”, model this attitude of Christ’s? How often do we set aside our emotions and fears and charge forward saying “Yes Lord! You made me for this moment! I’m ready, do what You must to glorify Yourself!” I know when troubles come my way, this isn’t my attitude very often. When suffering comes, my knees hit the floor and I’m pleading with God to “save me from this hour”.
I’ll give you a clear example. As I write this, the economy is down. Some say we are in a depression. Most of us are tightening the purse-strings, and some of us are living on very little (for Americans). But how many of us consider this time an opportunity? How many will say “Wow, I’ve got a chance to show the world I love Jesus even when I don’t have money. I’d better give like I’ve never given before, because I may not be this poor ever again!”? How many of us instead are begging God for funds, begging Him to lift the crisis so we can get our comfort zone back?
The Word tells us to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2-3) We often wonder how to see this as “joy” since by definition trials and sufferings are not pleasant things. Trials and sufferings are not fun, but they are what Christians were made for. Jesus told us that “No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:20) If we want to be resurrected with Christ and live forever with Him, then we must also live and walk like Him, and endure all kinds of hardships. “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.” (1 John 2:6)
Too often we Christians mourn our situation and cry out to God for deliverance, when we should stand up and shout with joy because our time has come to walk in the Spirit and show the world Christ despite the hardships and suffering. Our greatest trial, our deepest suffering can be our finest hour as a Christian if we choose to act like Christ. It’s noble, it’s heroic, but above all, it’s Christ-like, and one of the keys to living the “abundant life” Christ promised us all.