When Life’s Journey is Confusing
Would you like a method of calming your mind and settling your emotions when life’s journey gets confusing?
Welcome to Part One of the Life’s Journey series for Easter 2021 – Palm Sunday
We all find life confusing at times. Things do not always go as we expected. We thought God had spoken to us, maybe given us promises, but then things seem to go in an unexpected direction altogether. We believe, but we do not understand. We might be disappointed, but sometimes it’s more complex than that. We struggle to cope with rising tension, stirred emotions, questions in our own minds that we cannot answer.
The Disciples on a Journey with Jesus
Life was like that for the disciples. Jesus had been trying to get through to them that the events of Holy Week would lead to his death. Their reaction had been simple. Avoid Jerusalem! Life could be easy – just evade any danger. Jesus, however, had set his face to go there, resulting in some people refusing to accept him any longer. It must have been challenging for the disciples to trust and keep going.
The Unexpected in Life
Sometimes, as we say, life throws you a curveball. That’s what happened for the twelve. They must have struggled with fear as they approached Jerusalem. There had been so many warnings about this week and things didn’t look good. But, instead of the bad things they were afraid of, including a fatal trap, they had a joy-filled, tumultuous, glorious arrival. This looked more like the entrance of a King, not a sacrificial lamb. Why had they allowed themselves to be governed by their thoughts, dreams and fears?
It’s easy to read the Palm Sunday story and miss the larger context. Just how confused must the disciples have been? This was the very opposite to what they feared. It was great – but how did it make sense? Had Jesus misread the signs? Did he sometimes get things wrong? If so, is he really the Son of God after all? Is God unreliable and not to be trusted? Their growing foundations became unstable. And the emotional confusion piled on top of the mental trauma.
Jesus on a Journey with the Disciples
For Jesus, everything was different. He was in the same ‘happenings’ as the disciples, but even as he shared his journey with them, his perspective, understanding and purpose were very different and far greater than theirs. Trusting in his Father, knowing that the time was right as planned from before the foundation of the earth, he was preparing to lay down his life as a sacrifice for many. That was to come a little later. Today, he was going into the enemy’s camp as a King, a Victor, riding high above every other person and power in the unfolding story. It was he who was in control. He was the central character in the play. Even while the disciples marvelled as the people brought their praise, Jesus knew that in itself it was totally untrustworthy. He didn’t entrust himself to any man.
Jesus was living out a reminder that would be talked about throughout history, a foreshadowing of his return as King, when every eye will see him, every knee bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of the Father.
Once you have surrendered your life to the saving work of Jesus Christ, he will never leave you or forsake you. When life takes a confusing turn and you are full of fears, questions, doubts; when you are totally confused, your head is messed up and you don’t know what to believe any more, remember this simple truth: he is with you. He is walking through your life with you. But His perspective and understanding are different to yours. His story is bigger than yours and he knows what he is doing. Our understanding is finite. His is infinite.
A Life Lesson from Joshua
We sometimes speak of this event as a theophany, an Old Testament appearance of Jesus
When Joshua was approaching Jericho, he saw a man standing before him with a drawn sword in his hand. He was confused so he approached him and asked which side he was on. The man answered ‘Neither. I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” Joshua bowed down and worshipped him. When he asked what he should do, he was told to remove his shoes; he was standing on holy ground. (Joshua ch 5.)
Joshua became aware that the unfolding events – think Jericho’s walls – were not about him after all. God was telling his story and Joshua had a part in playing it out.
Here’s the secret. God isn’t so small that he comes at our bidding to be found in our life’s story. Rather, he reaches out to us and incorporates our journey into his big story, redeeming it, filling it with his glory. It’s that way round. That’s why we should marvel and live with awe towards him.
So – we need to trust as well as have faith. That’s the secret of a peaceful heart and mind in the midst of confusion. These two allow us to enter into his rest, even in the midst of the fiercest confusion and conflict.
Helpful Scriptures for confusing times
2 Samuel 22:3 My God, my rock, in who I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my Salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my saviour; you save me from violence.
Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my Salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; For the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my Salvation.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Heavenly Father, I thank you that you have placed the government on Jesus’ shoulders. I put my trust in you to lead me safely to my destination, however testing the route of life may be.
Please calm my fears, my thoughts, my emotions. Settle my spirit as I look to you in faith, and trust in you. Your word says that your plans for me are for good, not harm, and I trust you to fulfil your promise, even when circumstances confuse me.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Have you found another scripture that has strengthened you when you are stressed out of your mind with life’s twists and turns? Please comment and share the reference with us.
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© Roy Godwin 2021