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John 12:27-28

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.”

Jesus knew what was coming. The betrayal. The arrest. The humiliation. The beatings. The flogging. The crucifixion. His most famous agonizing would come later in the Garden of Gethsemane, but in this passage, we see that Jesus had begun to lament as he spoke to the crowds in Jerusalem. He was telling them what was coming, but their only reaction was confusion. Where he saw clearly, the people he would die for—and at the hands of—only saw riddles and eventually…failure.

It’s hard to press on when everyone around you expresses doubt.

Jesus knew what must be done. There was only one way to atone for the ever-increasing sin record of mankind, and it would require the sacrifice of the Perfect Lamb. His blood must be shed, and his body emptied of its life. “And what shall I say?” Jesus exclaimed. “Father, save me from this hour?” You can almost hear the incredulity in his voice. The disgust. While his human side struggled his deity stayed resolute. While his flesh cried, “Save me!” his spirit declared, “Thy will be done!” It is a struggle that is common to every Christian.

Save Me or Glorify God?

Nothing gets wasted in God’s economy…including your pain and suffering. Your losses as well as your gains. Your good days as well as your bad. I think most of us spend a good deal of time and effort trying to avoid pain and disappointment of any kind. We run from loneliness, commitment, sacrifice, relationships, and even holiness in order to achieve some “greater good” for ourselves…but in the end, it leaves our soul’s wanting. Man’s Way is the path of least resistance with maximum enjoyment while’s God’s Way embraces the inevitability of suffering and loss and uses it for a bigger picture…a greater story…and one that could not exist without the dark days of disappointment and pain.

In the midst of our troubles, we often declare (or we should) Romans 8:28…that all things work together for good for those who love God! But oftentimes, we find it hard to swallow our own biblical medicine. Perhaps we should keep reading. The rest of chapter eight in Romans paints an incredible picture for us that runs alongside today’s passage in perfect harmony:

If God is for us, who can be against us?

Who can bring any charge against God’s elect?

Christ Jesus is interceding for us.

Who can separate us from the love of Christ?

Tribulation? Distress? Famine? Danger? Persecution?

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us!” Paul exclaimed in Romans 8:37. “For I am sure,” he continues, “that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Now look back at today’s passage. Can you see Jesus exclaiming what Paul would later come to understand? Now put yourself back into a troubling and/or disappointing situation or season of life. It might be easier to say, “Save me” than “Use me”, but only God knows what is best in any given situation…both for us as well as for His Kingdom. Like Jesus, we must always fight to surrender our will to our Father’s…and while we drop Romans 8:28 into most tough situations, let’s remember to read the rest of the chapter so that we can stand strong like Jesus did in the face of his coming troubles.

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