Then Jesus shouted at the top of his voice, “Here's my spirit, Father! You can take care of it now!” And with that he died.
I am taken aback by the way Jesus surrendered himself to the Father, even in his deepest sorrow. I used to assume that Jesus just knew exactly how the Father would unfold everything, making his connection to the Father "easier" somehow, or at the very least, quite different from ours. But the more I go on this Jesus Journey, and the more I see his humanity, the more I am convinced that this was not necessarily the case.
Just as I am often left to trust in God’s faithfulness—even when there seems to be no end to the storm in sight—so too Jesus was left to do likewise.
While reflecting on chapter thirty-two of Jesus Journey, I thought back to one of the greatest storms I have had to weather in my own life. It began the last half of my senior year in high school when I began having severe upper back pain. I was uncertain as to how it started, but most likely it came from playing ice hockey or weight lifting. The pain eventually came to a point where it would be present throughout the whole day and affect everything I did.
Doctors had no answers, and physical therapy was having no effect. I began to experience a significant shift in my quality of life, which was so disheartening to a teenager. Most discouraging of all, I was left in one-hundred percent uncertainty of how long the pain would last and whether or not it might get worse.
A particular challenge during this time was not just the pain itself, but rather how lonely it made me feel. I really didn’t know anyone I could relate to or confide in with a similar life-sucking situation. To make matters worse, few even knew I was in constant pain because I worked hard to mask it well. As a result, I was left feeling very alone in walking through it all.
A turning point in my own journey with pain happened when I was venting some of this hopelessness to the Lord one day in prayer. As I vented my feelings that day, I sensed a gentle response come into my mind: “I understand what you are going through, Daniel.” It was such a simple statement, but the truth of it impacted me deeply.
In a similar way that Psalm 22 (the Psalm Jesus referenced on the cross when he said, "My God, my God why did you abandon me?") pivots from the feeling of abandonment to the truth of God’s never forsaking love, the Lord turned what I was feeling that day to the reality of what was really true.
My pain was not taken away in that moment, but I can’t even begin to explain the comfort that overflowed in me from those words: "I understand what you are going through, Daniel." I believe the comfort came from two realizations that day...
First, that there was actually someone who could see exactly what I was going through. Somehow I knew that Jesus would be able to empathize with anything I expressed or shared. And I knew that he would do so from a place of one-hundred percent "getting it."
Second, it meant that I could actually relate with Jesus because of what he walked through in his own life on earth. The simple knowingness that I could confide in Someone who knew my pain, walked through pain himself, and ultimately conquered pain, allowed me to find such hope and peace in the midst of so much uncertainty.
The depth of relationship this built between Jesus and me was like none I had ever experienced. Because He taught me that although I might not be able to see how I would be lead through my pain, I had someone I could bring it to—like he did—with an unyielding trust of a child, saying: “Here I am, Father! You can take care of me now.”
Today's guest post is by Dan Shannon: Dan and his wife Meehan work with Youth With A Mission in Kona, HI. Dan began teaching in YWAM fifteen years ago, which led him to share in nearly forty countries throughout his early twenties. After seeing the Body of Christ in so many different shapes, sizes, and cultures, Dan fell more and more in love with the church worldwide. In 2009, Dan and Meehan moved to Cape Town, South Africa to learn from church planting pioneer Floyd McClung. During this time they learned and practiced how to create communities centered around following Jesus with people who had never done so before. After four years in South Africa, Dan and Meehan moved to Denver, CO, to give birth to their two children. There they continued to create Jesus-centered communities among college students, which has now led them back to their "spiritual roots" in Kona, HI, with YWAM, where they help others learn how to do the same.
Photo credits: Chelsea Hudson