Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it , may your will be done.” When he came back, head gain found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Matthew 26:39-46
It would be safe to assume I wasn’t a huge fan of last year. Frankly, it sucked. But the amazing and wonderful thing about the Lord I serve is that He takes that ugly, broken mess and He makes something beautiful out of it. Much like He did with the crucifixion, right?
You see, the enemy would have us believe that we aren’t loved. He wants us to feel far away from God.
This year is all about second chances. The theme has been very clear. It’s about starting over and realizing that we never have to be stuck where we are.
The world wants you to be stuck. The enemy wants you to be stuck. God doesn’t.
I had a moment a few weeks ago that was a complete game changer for me. I have never felt the presence of God the way I felt Him that day. I just gave all of it to Him. He took it and the peace that overcame me left me sobbing in my car, looking like a hot mess. But the truth is, I’ve never been that happy before.
The thing about second chances and starting over is that you need to understand why it didn’t work the first time. And in my case, it was a simple, very clear, answer. I didn’t include Him. I tried doing it all on my own. Sound familiar?
And that’s what the world wants. The world wants us to do it on our own. They encourage doing it on our own. Not doing it on our own means defeat, it means weakness.
But the world doesn’t tell you the truth. The truth is that nothing is going to make sense and work out if He isn’t included. Not. One. Thing. And the idea that we are weak if we need Him? Well it’s impossible to be weak when your God is that powerful.
“Far be it from me to not believe even when my eyes can’t see. And this mountain that’s in front of me will be thrown into the midst of the sea.”– It Is Well, Bethel Music.
Y’all, He has transformed everything in my life. He has figured out the smallest details. And He is making the impossible possible. If you aren’t a believer, for whatever reason, I just ask you to take a look at my story. From the beginning. You can see Him there. He’s all over my story. He’s even in the places where I didn’t ask Him to be. And He took that messy, ugly story, He took all of those bad decisions, and He gave me a husband who loves me unconditionally. He gave me two beautiful children. He gave me a job that I love. He has provided all of our needs. And He has given me a second chance.
The enemy meant for those bad decisions to ruin me. And they would have without Him. But He took those bad decisions, those sins, those mistakes and He just let me know, as a loving Father does, that it was okay. He would take care of it. He let me know that there was NOTHING I could do to make Him not love me and He had forgiven me already when Jesus died on the cross for me.
Do you realize that He sent His only son to die for you and me because He loves us? Like He really, really, really loves us. I can’t tell you why. I can give you every reason why we are unloveable, but He does, He loves us so much. Even you.
But seriously think about how big this was. Jesus was absolutely perfect. Jesus was His only son. Jesus never did anything wrong, but He had to suffer and die for us, so that we could have a chance. Even in Matthew 26, Jesus asked God to ‘take the cup away’. Jesus, because He was also a man, He felt what men feel. Could you imagine? You’re spending time with your friends, your closest friends, and not only do you have to die to save all of mankind, but one of those friends is the guy who’s going to be the one to betray you.
But Jesus loves us too. They both love the screw ups, the mistakes, the forgotten, the unloved, the orphan, the unlovable, the sinner. All of us.
And He even loves us when we show anything but love for Him.
I used to be the type that wouldn’t say anything about God loving you or me. I didn’t want to step on toes or offend people, but my heart has changed. The greatest disservice I could do to any of you is not share how much He loves you with you. Because when you actually take a minute to step back and think about what exactly that means, well, I’m not sure how it wouldn’t change your life.
Lord, thank you for loving us, all of us. Thank you for loving us even when we don’t deserve to be loved. Thank you that your love isn’t dependent on anything we do, but that your love is unconditional. Thank you for sending your only son to die for us. Thank you for loving us before we even took our first breath. Thank you for never leaving our side and I just ask that you give us each the words and strength to share your love with others. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.