Force a vine to struggle and you give it a better chance at life. For any vine that has to reach its roots deep into the soil to find water and cling heartily to the guide wire against the wind will have a firm anchor to withstand any climate. –Notebook of a viticulturist
Have you ever tried to walk against a very stiff wind? You have to put your head down, and really plow forward, don’t you?
It is very easy these days, to look around at all that is happening in our world, and then think, “What’s the use?” as we throw up our hands, or throw in the towel.
Many days it does seem like–one step forward–three steps back. And, then we wonder if we are really getting anywhere, or are we just beating our heads against a stone wall?
Jesus My “Straight Shooter”
I have always thought of Jesus as a “straight shooter,” because He speaks to me plainly and simply, and most days that’s just the way I want it, “Tell it to me straight without all the blah, blah, blah.”
One of the things He clearly warned us about, was that in the last days life would resemble the days of Noah,
He went on to say to his disciples, “The days are coming when you are going to be desperately homesick for just a glimpse of one of the days of the Son of Man, and you won’t see a thing. And they’ll say to you, ‘Look over there!’ or, ‘Look here!’ Don’t fall for any of that nonsense. The arrival of the Son of Man is not something you go out to see. He simply comes. You know how the whole sky lights up from a single flash of lightning? That’s how it will be on the Day of the Son of Man. But first it’s necessary that he suffer many things and be turned down by the people of today. The time of the Son of Man will be just like the time of Noah—everyone carrying on as usual, having a good time right up to the day Noah boarded the ship. They suspected nothing until the flood hit and swept everything away.” Luke 17:22-27 MSG
Our Tenderhearted Intercessor and Friend
However, God has given us (His followers) some wonderful promises from His Word to encourage us to “carry on” when things get rough:
- It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23 KJV
- Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 MSG
- “Because a loveless world,” said Jesus, “is a sightless world. If anyone loves me, he will carefully keep my word and my Father will love him—we’ll move right into the neighborhood! Not loving me means not keeping my words. The message you are hearing isn’t mine. It’s the message of the Father who sent me. I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left—feeling abandoned, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.” John 14:23-27 MSG
Our Heavenly Helper
But, that’s not all.
We speak often, of all that Jesus purchased for us at the cross, and it is certainly appropriate that we do so. Yet, it is easy to forget sometimes, all that He is doing for us now, today.
I want to share a couple of great quotes from Dane Ortlund’s book, Gentle and Lowly,
“… not only does a true friend pursue you; he allows you to pursue him, and he opens himself up to you without holding anything back. Have you ever noticed the particular point Jesus is making when he calls his disciples “friends” in John 15? On the verge of going to the cross, Jesus tells them, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:15 ).
Ortlund reminds us,
“One of the more neglected doctrines in the church today is the heavenly intercession of Christ. When we talk about Christ’s intercession, we are talking about what Jesus is doing now. There has been a remarkable recovery of the glory of what Christ did back then, in his life, death, and resurrection, to save me. But what about what he is doing now? For many of us, our functional Jesus isn’t really doing anything now; everything we need to be saved, we tend to think, is already accomplished.
But that is not how the New Testament presents the work of Christ… what is he doing now?
We don’t have to speculate. The Bible tells us. He is interceding for us.” –Dane Ortlund, To The Uttermost (Gentle and Lowly)
He Who Fears The Wind
As I said in an earlier post,
“There is no perfect weather.”
We had a saying when I lived in Seattle, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes, it is sure to change.”
Perhaps that is what the writer of Ecclesiastes tried to get across to us when he said,
Those who wait for perfect weather will never plant seeds; those who look at every cloud will never harvest crops. Ecclesiastes 11:4 NCV
Life is in constant motion. If you are trying to control all the circumstances of your life, waiting for all things to be smooth sailing? You won’t get anywhere.
A Call To Bold Asking
Since we are promised that Jesus is always interceding for us…
And, God has said quite clearly,
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 KJV
Let us go forward, asking for the help we need, making our petitions bold–even if we must plow forward against the heavy winds of our day.
When we pray? Jesus is praying, too, asking the Father for all that we need.
How encouraging that is! I do not pray alone. Jesus is praying with me!
Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers–he is offended by Anything Less. If your prayers aren’t impossible to You, they are insulting to God–why? Because they don’t require divine intervention. But ask God to part the Red Sea or make the sun stand still or float an iron ax head and God is moved to Omnipotent action. –Mark Batterson
Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. –Mark Batterson