Mercy 17: Merciful Allegiance
‘If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me.’ (LK 9: 23)
Jesus’ Cross is the foundation of our freedom. His broken body is the narrow way to a spacious life. He asks us to follow Him, to align our new lives with His cruciform one. That means discovering in every hardship we face for the Kingdom’s sake a little cross.
Here He refines our allegiance and purges our ‘yes’ of fanciful spirituality. He bursts the bubbles of illusion: the quick fix, superficial resolutions, loved ones who elude our control. Instead He invites us to take up our little crosses, those made bearable by His big Cross. To us, these Kingdom conflicts can seem unbearable. It helps to know we are aligned with the One who shares the yoke with us, who in truth bears the lion-share of it.
Perhaps He allows these hardships to cause us to rely upon Him more. Perhaps we become like the One from whom we draw our life. Jesus wants us to represent Him clearly. The darkness of unanswered prayer can make Him luminous: the One in whom we place all our hope.
And He proves Himself faithful, over and over. I am a living witness that Jesus hears prayers and heals lives. One cannot read any of the Gospels and not believe squarely that Jesus came to seek and save lost, poor and wretched people. That saving work means freedom from all manner of affliction: from demons and human tradition, from all manner of physical and moral distress.
Yet running through every Gospel is Jesus’ trek to Calvary. En route, His miracle tours are punctuated by abrupt reminders to the disciples that they too will suffer in a manner not unlike His. The Healer prophesied continuously of His Cross and insisted that His servants discover their own.
Amid our aspirations to greater wholeness must be our deepening grasp of this Cross. It invites us to surrender to Him as the beginning and the end of all that we hope for in His Name. Along that cross-walk we shall participate in dynamic expressions of the Kingdom. And we will weep over hardships that bring us to our end. Words fail us here, so we groan and trust the Spirit of Jesus for resurrection. Our waiting can become the ground in which He does His deepest work in us. We are saying ‘yes’ to Him because of who He is, not because He does things our way.
‘We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we await the redemption of our bodies…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.’ (Romans 8: 23, 26)
Desert Stream/Living Waters: Pacific Northwest: Idaho, Oregon ,Washington, Deb Ivancovich, Regional Coordinator. Please pray for new groups and leaders throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Restored Hope Network: New Ministries: pray the Lord will raise up willing and godly men and women to lead others in the following areas: Seattle, WA; Idaho; Wyoming; Utah; Arizona; N Texas; Colorado; Nebraska; North & South Dakota; Iowa; Wisconsin, Louisiana; Mississippi; Alabama; Georgia; Indiana; west Virginia; Delaware; New Jersey; Pennsylvania; Connecticut; Rhode Island; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; Vermont; Maine.
Courage: Please pray all parents, relatives and friends of those with SSA may be able to love and direct their loved ones back to God.
Cor Project: Pray that we would have fortitude to endure the trials and persecutions God may permit.