Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. Psalm 31:24
Some things we have to do are hard. When General Robert E. Lee, his army in Virginia defeated, had to prepare to meet General Grant to surrender, he said: “I would rather die a thousand deaths.”
What difficult tasks have you had to perform? Give up your home or business? Prepare for the death of a loved one? Submit to serious surgery? Break bad news to a friend?
Think of some heart-rending assignments that people of the Bible had to carry out. Moses had to leave his flocks and herds to assume the staggering task of leading the murmuring Israelites out of Egypt amid crisis after crisis. King David had to flee from the would-be usurper of his throne—his own son, Absalom. Someone had to bring him the news that Absalom was dead, and David mourned his death with outcries of grief. Someone had to tell Mary that Jesus, her son, had been arrested, and she gathered up all her strength to stand under His cross.
What a task confronted Jesus! In Gethsemane He felt the full force of the evil confronting Him: the arrest, the farce of a trial, the condemnation, the crucifixion. No wonder that He trembled and sweated blood! Yet our Lord went ahead with what He had to do. He knew it was the Father’s will that He must suffer and die to redeem the sinful human race.
Because Jesus endured all for us, we are enabled to carry out what we know is God’s will, difficult as it is. General Lee, a biographer tells us, considered for a moment the possibility of exposing himself to enemy fire so that he might be rendered incapable of going to Grant to surrender. But he dismissed that impulse quickly saying: “It is our duty to live.” Suicide, direct or indirect, is not the answer to our problems. What we all can do is place ourselves into God’s hands, pray for strength, and then go forward to the unpleasant task.
PRAYER: Lord God, for Jesus’ sake, strengthen my heart, mind, and body to carry out the hard tasks confronting me. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)