“Look’, I heard Him say, ‘open up your eyes, notice you’re still breathing, you’re still here upon this Earth.” “So long as you are still breathing the breath that I have given you,’ He continued, ‘your mission here is not done. Look around you in your fraction of the world, look and see the influence, the ministry I set before you everyday. Your sphere of influence is another of My gifts to you. Don’t you understand that your job is not done until you breathe your last breath upon this Earth?”
I was reminded that while Jesus hung there dying on the cross, His breathing labored as He was suffocating and although His purpose mere minutes from being fulfilled, He still saw one last mission, one last Divine appointment here on Earth. He willingly became the only source of comfort to a thief who hung there next to Him upon another cross. Luke 23:43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Jesus gave every last shallow breath within Him, over to the Will of His Father. Jesus truly bore the weight of the world on His shoulders, never once shrinking back into self-pity due to the circumstances and the horror, He found Himself in. He conquered the world! He did not let the world conqueror Him. The torture, the anger, the uncaring, the unforgiving, the vulgar, the evil and the ungratefulness Jesus witnessed and suffered here couldn’t cause His heart to change or tire of doing right. No, even after all the extremes were thrust upon Him and He was shown that the world hated Him, the world didn’t want Him and the world turned their backs upon Him, even though He only loved, taught, fed and healed them, He allowed it not to change Him. As He struggled to breathe, His pure heart remained unchanged, His last prayer still today carries loves echo, for He prayed, Luke 23:34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
I think about all the pain He had to be feeling physically. His body was so brutally beaten and nails pulling on His flesh as He hung from them, all while suffocating. Then I think of the emotional pain, with a kiss, betrayal from one of His closest friends and another of His closest friends denied even knowing Him three times. He never did anyone any harm His entire life. He never lied to anyone, stole from anyone, gossiped about anyone, spread lies about anyone and He never cheated or took advantage of anyone. He healed the sick, taught acceptance and He loved the unlovable. All of this while knowing the plots stewing against Him regularly.
While I sit here meditating on the life that Jesus led, knowing that He was ultimately becoming the one true sacrifice made for the salvation of a people who not only punished Him for the good life that He lived, but they also did not appreciate the sacrifice, they didn’t deserve the sacrifice, and they didn’t want the sacrifice. Still as Jesus went through all that He had gone through from His birth to His resurrection, I know there was at least one name that He was doing it for, someone that could not save herself from her own darkness and sin. One soul helplessly fallen in this fallen world. He knew even then the name of a girl who would one day cry out amidst her pain needing rescued from her enemies, but most of all needing rescued from herself. He chose the nails, the crown of thorns, the mocking spit, the name calling, the betrayals, the flogging, the lots cast for His clothes, the weight of all mankind’s sin, the rejection from Father God and the death on a cross, He chose all this and more for an undeserving, self-seeking, sinful, fallen girl who’s voice would cry out to Him over two thousand years later. And for that one girl way off in the distant future, Jesus said, “yes, I do all this for you.” Then He uttered, “ tetelestoi”! ( It is finished, זה נגמר ). John 19:30 His last words sealing the deal, then He hung His head and died.
As that girl over 2000 years later, I can’t help but be ashamed of myself. I’m finding myself wandering in the desert like the Israelites did for 40 years, partly due to the constant self-pitying and complaining they were addicted (for lack of a better word) to. After all He did for me, how can I justify feeling sorry for myself going through the molding and watering and pruning of my character and my spirit because it feels like harsh trials and tribulations. It’s a win-win situation for me because of His selfless life and death He endured completely and utterly alone, and because He did, I never have to go through my struggles, hurts and sorrows alone. Hebrews 13:6 so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
Now in an effort to echo my Savior’s heart, I too must understand, my work is not done until I breathe my last breath. What have I chose to do with what God has already provided me? When I say I want God’s Will and not my own how often am I happy with what I currently have and how often am I complaining about what I don’t? How long do I live in the present moment where I can feel Him the most and how often am I distracted by regret from the past or to focused on my future goals? How often have I said to God Thy will be done and then make every effort to be the teacher and not the student or The giver not the receiver? If I truly want to be the person God created me to be, if I truly want Him to change my heart and mold me into the person heaven’s gate will recognize and open up for, then understanding what it means to pick up my cross and follow Him, (basically die to self) is necessary. To stop asking what God can do for me like a genie out of a bottle at my beck and call to give me my next wish and instead start asking what God would be willing to allow me to do for Him, understand the blessing is in His willingness to give me a mission that always guarantees change within myself.
So just as David did when he said in Psalm 103:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. I too demand my soul and all that is within me to bless the Lord and His holy name.
Until next time, may the Lord bless you and keep you as you seek Him with all your heart.