Recently during an interview, Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, was asked “Who or what keeps you awake at night?” The question was intended to probe the Secretary’s greatest worries or concerns as our nation’s keeper of peace. His response was somewhat glib, “I keep others up worried at night.”
Some nights I come home absolutely exhausted. I fall into the bed and pull the covers over my head. I close my eyes and begin to drift into sweet sleep. Then I start to rehearse in my mind’s eye all of my failures. All of the times that I have let God down. All of the bad decisions I have made and the foolish things I have done.
Some nights I wonder how in the world will I get out of the mess I’ve gotten myself into? Shame takes a hold of me and fear fills my heart and I am overwhelmed with a sense of total hopelessness. This is exactly where the enemy of my soul wants me. He wants me to believe that I have no one to turn to and no way out of my situation. That there is no hope.
But thanks be to God, we do have genuine hope, His name is Jesus! The writer of Hebrews tells us that “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses... “ He knows how you feel. In the garden, Jesus said “My soul is sorrowful, even unto death.” You feel loss and emptiness, Jesus stood at the grave of Lazarus and wept. He understands us and loves us. That’s why He came, to seek and to save that which was lost.
When my past tries to worry me, to rob me of my joy, I run to the cross knowing that He loves me. We are also told “Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.” Did you get that, “receive mercy.” Not earn it. Not purchase it. Not bargain for it. Receive it! It is the gift of God paid for in full by Jesus.
I love the later half of this passage. “...and find grace whenever we need help.” Do you remember the account of the disciples found in the last chapter of John’s Gospel? They had returned to fishing. They had fished all night long and caught nothing. The next morning as they were returning empty handed Jesus was there waiting on them and He had the fish cooking on the fire. The very thing that they were in need of and could not obtain through their efforts He had prepared and readied to bless them with.
So, when you are troubled. When you are overwhelmed. When it looks hopeless. Run to the cross. No one cares for you like Jesus!
No one ever cared for me like Jesus,
There's no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me,
O how much He cared for me.