Happy new year!
Well, it's the second week of January, but ya know.
Today, I'd specifically like to maintain focus on the power of Prayer, and the guidance of God.
Last night at our Youth Group, we each went into separate rooms (and in small groups each with a leader) and talked about our relationship with God, and our goals for how we can improve that relationship with this current New year we just started. It was one of those times where it was like time kind of froze for a second and it made you think. As a teenager, you don't really think you'd have to maintain a Serious relationship with Jesus. You already have so much to focus on; Family, school, friendships, relationships, drama, grades, and this time in our life we're also starting to learn how to drive. With all of these activities, our time begins to become consumed and suddenly a relationship with God seems less and less important compared to the things we're always doing on a daily basis. In addition, usually a teenager is starting to just develop serious feelings and emotions and how to react to certain situations, but some of us aren't quite as mature yet and don't view a relationship with God and seeking his constant guidance as a "Must-do", it's more of a "Well, if I have time and if I really feel like praying/reading my Bible, I will."
Trust me; I've been there before. In fact, I've been like that a lot recently. I would get so caught up in what I'm doing and what's around me and what I need to be worried about, that I wouldn't stop for a minute and ask God to help out or even just a simple prayer. It just.. didn't seem important to me.
As I've mentioned once or twice before in previous posts, I have suffered from depression and being suicidal and I currently suffer from a disorder my old therapist recently diagnosed me as; "GAD" which stands for "Generalized Anxiety Disorder." It's normal for teenagers to feel stressed and overwhelmed when acting in a tough situation, but with GAD, it affects my day-to-day life and can manage to seriously impair even the slightest and simplest activities. I don't really discuss the matter with anyone; not my family, best friends, or even my Boyfriend. I understand that they care, but I also know that none of them would quite understand what exactly it's like to have this disorder. So, having that said, not telling anyone or asking for help in serious times can manage to get me into a rather lonely and dreadful mood. I often times find myself asking, "God, how could you possibly use me? I seem like a wreck. I can't even talk to a group of 4 people without stuttering and getting a panic attack. How am I supposed to live like this? How am I supposed to live for you?"
God answers that question in many ways.
In the book of Matthew, you see one of the times that Jesus becomes sick with sadness, worry and even anxiety. He knows what his fate is to come; being denied by his best friends, having the crowds that once encouraged him and praised him turn against him and yell for his crucifixion; and of course, being crucified on the Cross.
In Matthew 26: 36 - 44, Jesus goes to Gethsemane with Peter, James and John. He told them,
"My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." (Matthew 26:36-38) As Jesus walked further into the grove, he bowed with his face to the ground and began to Pray.
"My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine." (Matthew 26:39)
Jesus continues to return to the disciples, only to find all of them asleep. He turned to Peter, saying, "Keep watch and Pray, so that you will not give into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!"
Leaving for a second time, Jesus prayed once again.
"My father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, let your will be done."
That right there, is a pretty powerful verse and Prayer. Here Jesus is, knowing what the future holds and he's so scared and sad that he prays for his suffering to be over.
In the first prayer, that is.
When he returns to the grove once again, his prayer almost shows a sense of understanding and acceptance for his Trust in the Father. In the first prayer, he wanted his "cup of suffering to be taken away" from him. But, in the second prayer, he says "If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, let your will be done."
What that is saying, is, his suffering cannot be taken away until and/or unless he goes through it, because that is God's plan. Of course, everything seemed so.. unbelievable for him at that time. Going from crowds of people praising your name and believing in you, to being betrayed, denied by the closest people to you, whipped and beaten, then having to carry his Cross after the beating and finally, being nailed to it. It wasn't until after that he finally saw a glimpse of what God's plan for him was; and that was, to take everyone's sins away, destroying the barrier between God and us, and leading the way to Heaven.
Now, what we may be going through is most likely not as harsh or intense as what Jesus had to endure. But, his life and what happened during it and the incredible example God used Jesus as, is beyond astounding and something that us teenagers especially need to look at and remember. We need to look for God in our every day situations; through the good and bad times, and the small and big things.
Especially with this new Year we just started, we're going to be faced with many tests, temptations, troubles, pains and heart aches. Although we may not want to experience them; God may need us to go through with it. We need to "Take our cup and drink it, so God's will can be done." It may not be something that we want to do, and heck, we can fight it all we want. But God's thoughts are higher than our thoughts and he knows what we need and what we will need to know/experience for the tests and trials there are ahead of us. There is one thing we must never forget to do; Pray. Never underestimate the power of Prayer. Jesus did it in the time he needed it most, and it helped him understand and accept God's will. Even if we don't have the words to say and our hearts are about to burst from the pain we're feeling or the confusion; just Pray. He understands your heart even when you're not speaking. Seek his guidance and know that he is God.
Verses (in no particular order);
- Matthew 26: 36-46
- Luke 11:9
- 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (Pray without ceasing)
- John 15:7
- Philippians 4:6
- Mark 11:24
- Jeremiah 29:12
- 2 Chronicles 7:14
- 1 John 5:14-15
- Matthew 21:22
- Psalm 145: 18-19