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Monday over Coffee

NEED SOME WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT?

A Holy Week Prayer

“Events, dear boy, events.”

When asked about the greatest challenge a leader faces, British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan who served the crown during the Cold War, is said to have answered, “Events, dear boy, events.”

We recently initiated a Lenten series focused on Forgiveness. It’s a great topic to explore, but Ash Wednesday seems a long, long time ago, and we now find ourselves in Holy Week in unexplored territory. “Events, dear boy, events.”

I want to encourage you to trust that God can see ahead where you can’t. In each moment you feel fear and doubt about what might be over the horizon, God encourages, instructs, even demands each of us to express our anxiety, our uncertainty, our disappointment, our grief, even our anger with pure and ruthless honesty through our prayers.

As we consider the events of Holy Week, we should remember that Jesus Himself prayed aloud the opening line of what we know as Psalm 22 from the cross when He cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

If you read the whole Psalm, and I challenge you to do so this week, you’ll receive great insight as to what Jesus was thinking, was praying, and was actually seeing played out before Him while on the cross. It’s remarkable. Please read it. When it was most bleak and it must have seemed to His followers like the plan to save the world had completely collapsed, God saw out in front, and Jesus relied on that as He prayed this Psalm.

We must do so too. Just as God was surely with Jesus as He prayed, God is with us as we pray. We must rely on that. Even when things look like a train wreck ahead of us, God sees out in front and is with us.

So let us offer this prayer of trust before a loving and graceful God not only with the events of Holy Week in mind, but the events we are in the midst of now, as well as all the events ahead.

Events, God. I can’t see ahead.

As Christ prayed from the cross in forlorn doubt, I acknowledge that I feel this way, as well. I can’t see ahead.

Threats hover over me. Formidable risk encircles me, its mouth is wide against me. I can’t see ahead.

The news and the statistics are grim. I am uncertain of my future. I fear my loved ones may grow ill. I find no rest at night. I wake and quickly take stock of how I feel. My job, my home, all my resources. God, I can’t see ahead.

Those before me in war, in times of trial, in lean and troubled seasons, they all trusted You, and indeed You delivered them. They cried out and were saved. But perhaps I am different than they. For I can’t see ahead.

My days are long, my bones feel out of joint. My mind races, my stomach churns, and I can’t see ahead.

As Christ was betrayed, taken, beaten, scorned, tried, then nailed onto a cross, perhaps He couldn’t see ahead, but He trusted in You in silence, in prayer, and in Scripture despite the pain of suffering. It must have seemed like all had failed. He must have felt forsaken.

God, I confess I fear and am unsure what is next. I can’t see ahead. But I trust that You see all. That You see ahead. As Jesus relied upon You, I trust You also. Be with me as events unfold. Fold me in Your care.

Amen.

–Greg Funderburk