Henry David Thoreau once wrote: “If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams and endeavors to live the life which one has imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” I would add that to find the kind of success that lasts, we must also submit to God and follow His lead.
When Christ lived among us, he lived a very focused life. While we tend to think of Jesus as a great leader, he was foremost a follower of God the Father. Jesus gave deeply of himself yet exuded supernatural strength and a quiet grace. Even when he was under tremendous pressure, he remained confident, calm, collected, and compassionate. How did he manage this? It was his habit to rise early in the morning to spend time alone with his Father, and he emerged from these times bathed in God’s gracious goodness – covered by the healing balm of his Dad’s affection!
Could you have withstood the press of the crowd, constant criticism from hypocritical religious leaders & their evil schemes & plots against you? And what about betrayal from one of your closest friends? Jesus did. And he did it without ever resorting to retaliation or any form of evil. Yes, it’s true that zeal for his Father’s house consumed him, and he unleashed the wrath of God towards those who had made church into a circus of buying & selling. But even then, he was restrained by Grace – (He could have called for legions of angels to destroy all who mocked him & his Father in Heaven.)
And speaking of grace under fire – what would your response have been to the beatings, the torture, the murderous mob’s chanting for your blood, and then soldiers nailing you naked to a cross? I don’t know about you, but I’m sure I wouldn’t have gone “silently like a sheep being sheared!” (Isaiah 53:7)
When it comes to suffering wrongs, how often have you or I even truly ‘turned the other cheek’ when unfairly attacked?
We who are His disciples are called to run the race with grace – as we look to Jesus.
St. Paul says Christ took our punishment for us, enduring the agony & shame of being crucified by focusing on the great joy waiting for him at the finish line – when his work would be done and the battle won!
Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus and run with grace toward the Victor’s prize which Christ has already won on our behalf! He has defeated evil and has shown us God’s amazing love & grace! Jesus, the Messiah, is waiting at the finish line to share his joy with us! What a wonderful day that will be – when Grace wins the race!!