Last Sunday, I was watching our pastor’s wife teach the children about one the most emotional parts of the gospel. She was teaching them what the crucifixion meant. As she explained Jesus praying the Garden of Gethsemane, I imagined that moment in time. I held back tears because I didn’t want a bunch of 4th graders seeing me crying right before I was to teach a class in a few weeks.
Jesus was in such anguish while praying right before his betrayal and arrest, that His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. He prayed, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. yet not my will, but yours be done.”
He was praying in agony in sorrow knowing the hour that He was facing. The season of His very mission and purpose, and very creation had arrived and He was petrified. He was born and raised to teach, heal but most importantly to be delivered to butchers to be slain as a lamb. I often wonder the reason of His fear. Was it because He knew of the brutal physical pain He would have to endure? The heartbreak of all those He loved betray Him? Was it because He did not want His mother witness His torture? Was it because He was afraid that He would give in and not see it through and make it all the way to the cross? Was it all the above?
I find myself just as many of us do facing a cup of sorrow that we beg God to pass from us. Whether it be heartbreak, betrayal, divorce, death of a loved one, a long brutal battle of an illness, depression, addiction or maybe even like Jesus, coming face to face with your mission. Many times our purpose is directly tied to sorrow. We may have had to go through many seasons of sorrow in order to become humble enough to hear the voice of God, and listen for His instructions. We may be going through a molding and shaping, creating a masterpiece of an empathetic heart enabling us to look in the eyes of the broken and help them out of the darkness. Then maybe for some of us, our sole purpose may be as Jesus. The suffering of one brings deliverance to many.
A single soul that was once lost but now found is worth more than our natural mind can fathom. Our ways our not His ways, His will is not our will. We can’t even comprehend the magnitude of the absolute joy that God feels when someone cries out for deliverance. This explains the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son.
Imagine having a child that was addicted to crack cocaine or involved in an abusive relationship for many years. You witness firsthand the decay, deterioration and slow downward spiral as you look at this soul that you love so much and no longer recognize. Something evil has a hold of them. You gave birth to this child, held them close in your arms and witnessed every stage of his/her life. Then evil comes and sweeps your loved one away and the harder that you reach, the deeper they go. Imagine. Finally they are reaching for your hand and crying, “Please, help me. I need you! You grab them, and the two of you are united and the light within them that you once saw is becoming brighter with each passing day. This is how God feels about one single person who has come back to Him. This is why the gospel is so vital in a fallen world. It’s the celebration of a lost and wandering child, finally making it home.
We are to be that bridge to Christ and Christ the bridge to God. Jesus taught us that we are all to be our brother’s keeper. After we have received our own deliverance, often through some traumatic experience, it is our responsibility to pass it on. We understand their anguish as were once in our own slumber of ignorance. Afterall Jesus came for the sick. His sole purpose was for the set the captives free. After you finally make it through all of the odds and barriers, with relief you scream, “Thank you! I made it”, but then God let’s you know that you have to go back to show others the way out. So as much as we hate to do it, we do. The cup has been passed to us. Christ drank His cup for us, now we much drink our cup for our brother.
We have to go in the trenches and tell the lost that there is a hand waiting there to pull them out. Many times, going in the trenches you will face sorrow, ugly things, vile things, horrible things. People are swimming in the same vomit that you were delivered from. But in that sea of sorrow, if one single soul is saved, God will look you in the eyes and say, “Well done, my child. Well done.”
“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15:7
Katrina is the author and workshop facilitator for The Butterfly Movement book, workbook and workshops as well as a contributing writer for Yahoo! and BLOG Magazine. Her current working projects are pollinating The Butterfly Movement workshops and the production of and upcoming books Cinderella No More and Independent No More, both due to release simultaneously Spring 2012. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.