Do you sometimes wonder if you really matter to God? I’m being honest now. As believers we can all boldly declare that God loves us totally and unconditionally and will never fail us. But I’m talking here about when we’re tired and exhausted, when everything seems stacked against us, and when everything we’ve trusted in and relied on seems to have failed, and we’re struggling to survive another day, maybe even another hour, let alone another week. Do we wonder then, “Do I really matter to God?”
Let me take you back 2,000 years to a Jewish carpenter called Jesus. The Bible tells us He was and is the Son of God; God in the flesh, one with the Father. We find Him rejected by His family, yet |He never gave up. Folk from His own home-town tried to stone Him, yet He never gave up. He was hated by the religious leaders, who conspired against him, yet He never gave up.
He struggled in Gethsemane to be obedient to the Father’s will, and sweated great drops of blood. Yet He never gave up. He was betrayed by a close friend with a kiss, yet He never gave up. He was deserted by His followers, yet He never gave up. He was scourged so severely that His back was like a ploughed field, yet He never gave up. He was ridiculed and slapped around by Roman soldiers, yet He never gave up. He was forced to carry His own heavy cross, yet He never gave up. He was nailed by His hands and feet to a wooden cross, yet He never gave up.
He took upon Himself your sins and mine, past present and future, yet He never gave up. He experienced the rejection and separation from Father God for the first time in all eternity for your sins and mine, yet He never gave up. He suffered and died an excruciating death when He could have climbed down from the cross, and no-one would have blamed Him, but He never gave up.
Why? Why go through all of that, when He never deserved any of it? What could possibly have kept Him going through it all without ever giving up? Take a look again at the verse we started with. There’s the clue right there. ‘For the joy set before him he endured the cross’. What on earth could that joy have been that was so great, so incredible, so wondrous, so precious that the Son of God should determine that no suffering, no rejection, no pain could make Him give up? The answer is in three simple words, ‘you and me’. We were, and are, the joy that was set before Him. It’s our salvation. The moment we gave our lives over to Him and asked Him into our lives was, and is, that joy that was worth it all to Jesus. It’s the joy that He saw as He looked forward into 2017, and beyond.
Do you matter to God? When everything, that can possibly go wrong, goes wrong, and the enemy whispers to you that God doesn’t care, and you don’t really matter, think again about a God who chose never to give up on you, and never will, because you fill His heart with joy. Determine to go on one more hour, one more day, one more week, knowing He never gave up on you, and never will.
Prayer: Oh Lord, I’m so sorry I doubt You when things seem to be going wrong. Forgive me for listening to the enemy’s lies. “Thank You” seems totally inadequate when I remember what You suffered for me. I’m utterly amazed, and so grateful, that I’m the joy for which You chose never to give up. Help me to never give up on You. Amen.
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