June 23, 2022
The Surprisingly Good News About Bad News
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"Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)
"Did you hear the news?"
I pried open my eyes in the early morning light, my husband's face peering earnestly over me.
"Russia invaded Ukraine."
The news settled like a brick on my heart, and I pulled the covers back over my head. This can't be happening. But it was.
Over the following weeks, I obsessively read updates about the situation in Ukraine - the country that bordered my homeland. Both my husband and I grew up in Romania, and while I was grateful the conflict remained far from my relatives' homes, my heart ached for displaced families, bombed hospitals and senseless casualties.
We seem surrounded by bad news these days, not just out there but also in our local churches, in our homes and in our own hearts.
It's the late-night text about changes in church leadership.
It's our loved one's painful symptoms that evade a diagnosis.
It's the online notification that someone else got what we wanted so badly.
We live in a broken world, and try as we might, we can't hide from heartache under a blanket, in the pantry or in a Netflix binge. Those coping mechanisms will never bring us peace because peace comes in the form of a Person: Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
That's the good news about bad news: It paves the way for us to run to Jesus. Simply put, when our world feels like it's falling apart, we get to fall into the arms of Jesus, the One who welcomes us every single time.
And the Prince of Peace will never turn us away. Just look at how Jesus responded to those who came to Him needy and broken:
- When "important people" marginalized little children, Jesus welcomed them, embraced them and spoke a blessing over their lives. (Matthew 19:13-15)
- When a rich young ruler was trying to find his way, not realizing how spiritually needy he was, Jesus looked at him with love and compassion. (Mark 10:21)
- When a gentile mother pleaded for her sick daughter, Jesus commended her faith and healed her daughter immediately. (Matthew 15:21-28)
- When a widow mourned the death of her only son, Jesus was moved with compassion. Then He reached out and raised the widow's son from the dead. (Luke 7:13)
- When Lazarus died, even though Jesus knew his death was temporary, Jesus still wept over the devastation and pain caused by death. (John 11:35)
These stories reveal that Jesus knows what it means to be human. He knows what it's like to live in a broken world. He knows what it feels like to be disappointed, hurt and betrayed. He is the Man of Sorrows, well-acquainted with grief. After all, He is Emmanuel - God with us.
That's why He invites us with open arms: "Come to me ..." (Matthew 11:28, NIV). Because when we bring our burdens to Jesus, He takes on our burdens. Whereas our friends can offer a listening ear and a sympathetic shoulder to cry on, Jesus offers us His very self.
He is our Great High Priest who is always making intercession for us, who walks with us through pain and who gives us His own Spirit as a promise of what's to come. He doesn’t leave us helpless and hopeless. And that is good news indeed.
We can prayerfully "approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). This is the privilege of prayer as rest: We get to rest in God’s presence, not because there's nothing wrong in the world but because we trust in the One who makes all things right.
No matter what is weighing you down today, take it to Jesus. He's waiting for you with open arms.
Precious Jesus, Your love is too marvelous to comprehend. Thank You for continually making intercession on our behalf. It is because of You and Your perfect sacrifice that we dare come before the Father with what’s on our hearts. And I do that now. [Take a moment to put into words what’s weighing you down.] I trust You with the good things and the hard things. And I love You too. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
A downward spiral. A small army. A fearless female leader. A people in continuous need of rescue. A mess seemingly too big to clean up. A nation in desperate need of a king: This is where the book of Judges takes place, with a people wanting to build their own kingdom without a king. And like the Israelites, we're left with the question: Can God really bring good from this mess? Join us for the study of What a Mess: How God Can Bring Good Out of Any Situation, A Study of the Book of Judges. The free study starts June 27 in the First 5 mobile app!
Learn how to start your own habit of restful prayer with Asheritah Ciuciu's newest devotional, Prayers of REST: Daily Prompts to Slow Down and Hear God's Voice.
Receive more encouraging messages from Asheritah when you join her free, weekly Enjoying Jesus newsletter here.
If you need a little extra help resting in prayer, tune in to the Prayers of REST podcast. In these 10-minute episodes, Asheritah will gently guide you in praying God's Word and resting in His loving presence, so it's perfect for Christian women on the go. Listen here.
FOR DEEPER STUDY
Romans 8:34c, "Christ Jesus who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." (NIV)
Picture Jesus standing at the Father’s right hand, praying for you. What is He saying? How is the Father responding? What is the Spirit adding through His wordless groans on your behalf?
We'd love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
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