Don’t Run Away From Your Challenges: Face Them and Go to Meet Them Head-on!
“Jesus…went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples.” John 18:1
Easter is coming up and I was pondering this verse recently. The Last Supper has just concluded and Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane for a quiet place to pray. He knew what was about to happen. He knew Judas was at that very moment consummating the plot to betray his Teacher.
Jesus could have stayed in the upper room. He could have hidden somewhere. He could have tried to escape. But instead he went straight to Gethsemane and not just for a quite place to pray. He went there because he knew he would be easily found by those who wanted to kill him.
It’s impossible for any of us to even to begin to imagine the weight that was on Jesus’ shoulders. He knew what he must do. And even though he implored God in all earnestness for deliverance from the ordeal of crucifixion, he completely yielded his own personal will to God’s divine plan.
Run toward the challenge
Jesus going forth to face his destiny with courage, faith and supreme trust in God reminds me of young David running toward Goliath (I Samuel 17:48). David did not try to avoid the challenge before him. Nor did Jesus.
Interestingly enough, there’s another parallel in John 18:1 between Jesus and David. Just as Jesus went over the brook Cedron to the Mount of Olives when his life was threatened, so David crossed the same brook when his life and kingdom were threatened by Absalom.
“…the king himself passed over the brook Kidron (Old Testament spelling). And David went up by the ascent of Mount Olivet (the Mount of Olives) and wept as he went up. II Samuel 15:23,30
Kidron is from the Hebrew word “Qidrown” meaning “dusky place” from a root word “qadar:” to be ashy—figuratively, to mourn.
When we are facing challenges, we too must pass over the brook Cedron to meet them head on. We must move beyond mourning and feeling sorry for ourselves because of the challenges we’re dealing with. We go forward to meet the problem with boldness, trusting God to give us strength and courage, to put the right words in our mouths and love and forgiveness in our hearts.
What! Avoiding problems doesn’t solve them?
There have been times in my life when I tried to avoid certain responsibilities or challenges. Funny thing though, avoiding a problem does not solve it but almost always makes it worse. You think I’d learn! Well, actually over the years I’ve gotten a little better.
Hey, sometimes it’s just facing the dirty dishes and not avoiding them any longer. But usually the things we must confront are much more serious. Like someone accusing of us things that are not true. That happened to me a few weeks ago and I had to forgive my friend, but God also demanded that I set the record straight and not leave the lie to fester. I spoke lovingly but firmly to my friend who immediately apologized and we both were blessed.
Or maybe our actions have hurt someone and we need to apologize. (Okay, what are you waiting for?)
And very often, God has called us to a task, but we doubt our ability to perform it or we are not willing to obey His directions.
When you face a challenge, God is demanding of you to step forth and cross the brook Cedron. You must go beyond the dusky, ashy place of your mourning, self-depreciation, self-pity, guilt, and fear to face squarely the task God has given you.
So take a moment to listen.
Is there something that you know God is asking you to do that you are avoiding? Don’t be afraid. He loves you and has seen the good that is in your heart and knows you are able to do all He asks of you.
Take a moment to think about the things God has called you to do. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. I find it’s helpful to write this stuff down in my journal. It helps me get a grip on it. And it’s kind of like writing a letter to God.
In fact, after you’ve written it down, write the sentence, “How do You want me to do this, God?” or “Show me what to do first, God.” Something like that.
Then be quiet and listen. And write down whatever comes to you. Then do what God tells you. He will give the courage and the strength.
And please feel free to share your thoughts in a comment below.