I was chatting with a friend this morning, someone who like me loves someone with PTSD. Our conversation led me to think about how often I have desired for the Lord to save now, to not wait, to not tarry even one more minute, how often we all do this, we who follow Christ.
We may be fully and completely convinced of His sure ability to save, we may have complete faith in Him, and yet we desperately want Him to come RIGHT NOW, to remove this pain RIGHT NOW, to save RIGHT NOW! It is terribly difficult to walk through pain and sorrow, to watch the ones you love so very much suffer. It is, and remains the most awful thing I have ever felt. I would rather suffer my personal sorrows one hundred thousand times over; than to watch the ones I love most suffer theirs.
As my friend and I chatted, I begin to think about the day the Lord rode into Jerusalem on a young donkey. The crowds were so exuberant. They had seen Him heal the sick, seen the blind given sight, seen the lame get up and walk, seen the demon possessed set free, and even seen the dead walk out of their tombs! The people were convinced, they needed no more proof. This was their long awaited Messiah! The kingdom of God was at hand! Their King was entering the gates of the city, seated on a donkey, as so many kings before Him had ridden in. Hosanna! Hosanna! Save now!
I thought about those people, the ones who had stood at the gates, waving their palm branches and throwing down their cloaks and crying “Hosanna! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!” Hosanna! The word means “save now” or “Please save! I believe they were convinced that He was the One and they were convinced that things were going to change now! Their King had come…….,Yet how devastated they must have been and how utterly confused when the very next day, they watched Him stumble through the streets carrying a cross, His back beaten bloody, Him so weak that another had to be pulled from the crowd to carry His cross…….save now! Save now! Seems such a foolish cry at this point, for He does not even attempt to save Himself.
And yet all this had to come to pass, it had to go down in the bloody and tragic way that it did. He had to die in order to pay the price for sin, and He had to die in order to rise alive, and defeat death. But at the time, they certainly couldn’t see it. How downcast and afraid they must have been. How disappointed.
And yet, if we look back upon that day, as we do today, and we see the majesty of it all, how God did so very much more than what they asked Him to do on that day so long ago, when the King of glory rode into Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey. They wanted an earthly king, they wanted an end to the Roman oppression, they wanted their bodies healed, their bellies to be full, but He was busy bringing eternal life to His people, He was busy crushing the head of the serpent and buying passage to glory for a multitude of souls. He was busy with the work of defeating sin and death once and for all. They just couldn’t see it.
I too have tasted their disappointment. I have cried out with all that is within me, SAVE NOW! I was convinced without a shred of doubt that He was able to save, that He was my only hope, my faith in Him was sure……but He tarried. He did not come on my timetable, He did not save immediately. I too was devastated. I too cried out for the pain to stop, for the healing to come, and I too wept at the foot of the cross thinking that all that I so longed for, was not coming.
And yet as I look back, over some six years of the most intense struggles of my life, I see His hand at work. I see how He was doing so much more than what I had asked and longed for. He was saving, and He was building, and He was working. He still is! While I pleaded for the salvation of my loved ones, for their pain to stop, for their healing to come, He was bringing about a change in me, and a change in them, and the salvation and restoration of many, and He was using all that pain, all that hurt, to reach others, and to change lives.
Hard times will come. Sometimes I wish that the positive movement, the name it and claim it people were right, that just having enough faith will see you heaped with monetary blessing and worldly happiness and that there will never be a single day of pain, or sickness, or mental anguish. But they are wrong. Hard times will come. Trusting God is not easy when they do come. Watching someone you love dealing with a depth of pain almost beyond comprehension is not easy. Laying them down on the altar of God is not easy. Believing that He has it all in His hands and that He intends good for you and yours is not easy. The hard times HURT. Losing people hurts, seeing them make grievous mistakes hurts, making grievous mistakes yourself hurts, being utterly helpless while everything around you is crumbling into pieces hurts.
But God is faithful. If you can just hold on to that, cling to it with everything in you, and pray like you never prayed before. You will see, like the people who shouted Hosanna, and saw their King crucified, their hopes crushed, and yet lived to see Him rise from the dead, and start His church, and they turned the world upside down, He will turn your world upside down too! He will be victorious in your life, He will and has heard your prayers, He hears your cries of SAVE NOW LORD, but He is working, He is working to do so much more than you could imagine.
I eagerly await the end of our story, for we have not reached it yet, but I am excited to see what He will do. I see Him moving! I see His hand in so very many things, I have seen people, so many people, blessed by the things that have come out of our struggles, and I can only see a little bit of what He is doing, and He isn’t done yet. It’s gonna be awesome for He is an awesome God.
So if its hard right now, if it feels like it’s never going to let up, if you, like me are watching things crumble and are helpless to stop it, pray, pray and believe, and in your unbelief ask Him to help you. Fall on your face before Him when you cannot go another step, and then get up and get out there and tell others about Him, share your struggles, share your triumphs, ask for prayer, and pray, pray, pray. The King is coming! He saves! He is faithful!