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Excerpt from Unbeaten by Lindsey Bell:
Do you remember when WWJD bracelets were popular? I was in junior high school and just had to have one. Actually, I wanted several in a variety of colors to go with every outfit I wore.
The bracelets asked the question, What Would Jesus Do? They were physical reminders to live like Him throughout the day.
The bracelets are out of vogue, but the goal of the believer is the same: to live like Jesus, or as Ephesians 5:1 says, to “follow God’s example.”
The question is, how can we follow Jesus’ example when bad things happen to good people?
Jesus, more than anyone else who ever walked this earth, was a good man to whom bad things happened. He was perfect — sinless. He was the only one who could honestly cry to God, “This isn’t fair!” and be right.
That is why it is so important to look at Jesus’ response to His suffering. He did three things when He knew His death on the cross was approaching.
3 Things Jesus Did When He Went Through A Trial:
The first thing He did was pray.
In Matthew 26, right before Judas handed Jesus over to the religious leaders, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to talk to His Father. He told His disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” Then “he fell with his face to the ground and prayed.” (Matthew 26:38–39)
Some of us do this naturally. When we face a difficult situation, we go to the Lord in prayer before we do anything else. Others of us, especially if we feel God has let us down in the past, are hesitant to bring another request before Him.
What if He doesn’t answer again or worse yet, what if He does answer, and I don’t like the answer? Jesus didn’t give in to those questions. When He faced an unfair trial, He brought it before His Father in prayer.
Jesus also submitted to the Father’s will.
After He fell on His face before God, He said these powerful words, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39, emphasis mine)
Jesus didn’t want to go to the cross. He begged God to come up with another way to bring salvation to the world. But when His Father said no, Jesus submitted Himself to God’s plan.
A few weeks ago, I attended a conference for moms, ministry leaders, and mentors. During the conference, one of the speakers challenged the audience to surrender their plans to God. She dared us to let go of the plans we were clinging to and grab hold of God’s plan for our lives.
As I sat and asked God to help me do it in regard to my desire for children, Satan whispered in my ear, “But what if God’s plan is painful? It was painful for Jesus, you know. What if His plan for you is painful too and His plan is that you’ll never get the one thing for which you long?”
I didn’t have an answer for Satan then, and I don’t have one now. I don’t know if God’s plan includes us getting a baby. I don’t know if His plan is painful. But I do know this.
If God’s plan is painful, He will help me through the pain and use it somehow for my good. If His plan hurts, it’s because there’s something better on the other side of the pain.
A third thing Jesus did when He faced the most unfair event imaginable is He cried out to God.
As He hung on the cross and tried to pull His body up enough to catch His breath, He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
With these words, Jesus cried out to the One who put Him there. The cross was God’s plan from the beginning. It was the reason Jesus came to this earth. Regardless, even though God the Father was the One who planned the pain, God the Son still called out to Him.
Jesus endured the pain because He knew what was coming next. He knew what His Father had waiting for Him on the other side of His death.
We can have that same confidence. We might not know how His plan is going to unfold for our lives on this side of heaven, but we do know how it’s going to unfold on the other side. Eternity awaits us.
Nothing Satan throws at us in this life can change that.
We have hope, not because of our certainty in this life, but because of our certainty in the next.
WWJD bracelets might have only been a fad, but this call to be like Jesus is not going anywhere. Sometimes, being like Him means submitting to a painful plan.
The question is, are you willing to submit?
This post contains an excerpt from Unbeaten: How Biblical Heroes Rose Above Their Pain (and you can too) by Lindsey Bell (CrossRiver Media). Used by permission.
Why does life have to be so hard?
Difficult times often leave Christians searching the Bible for answers to the most difficult questions — Does God hear me when I pray? Why isn’t He doing anything? Does He even care?
In Unbeaten, author Lindsey Bell shares the stories of biblical figures who went through tough times. Through this 10-week Bible study and devotional, she reminds readers that while life brings trials, faith brings victory. And when we rely on God for the strength to get us through, we can emerge Unbeaten.
My Review of Unbeaten:
My Review of Unbeaten:
Unbeaten is an uplifting devotional that shows that God is with us even during the hardest times. In this ten week study, Lindsey Bell draws from biblical stories and her own testimony to encourage readers to live unbeaten. The devotions are the perfect length for a busy stay-at-home mom like myself who has very little downtime. I also loved the journal questions and prayers at the end of each chapter because they reinforced the lesson and allowed time to reflect. I highly recommend Unbeaten to anyone looking for daily encouragement in their spiritual walk.
To celebrate her book, Lindsey is giving away a HUGE bundle of books! Leave a comment on this post to be entered to win. You can get more entries by commenting on other blogs in the tour as well. Get a full list of participating blogs here: HERE.
About Lindsey Bell:
Lindsey Bell is the author of Unbeaten: How Biblical Heroes Rose Above Their Pain (and you can too). She’s also the author of the parenting devotional, Searching for Sanity. She’s a stay-at-home mother of two silly boys, a minister’s wife, an avid reader, and a lover of all things chocolate. Lindsey writes weekly at www.lindseymbell.com about faith, family, and learning to love the life she’s been given.