Stand Up, Stand Firm

Jesus reminds us in Luke 21 that we will suffer in this life. He encourages us to “stand up” and to “stand firm” when persecution and trouble comes our way.

When we study the original language these words have even greater meaning and hope for those of us today who may be enduring some kind of suffering.

The greek word “anakypto” which the NIV translates stand up can also mean; to raise or lift one’s self up, ones body, ones soul. To be elated or exalted.

Also, “stand firm” in the greek is “hupomone”, one of my very favorite greek words, which means, in the New Testament the characteristic of a man who’s not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings. The word also means, to stay up under the weight of; to persevere.

When I think of the difficulties and sufferings of this life; a broken relationship, loss, abandonment, abuse, or a financial strain. I am reminded of the words of Jesus that tell us to lift up our bodies and our souls in elation towards God, for He is mighty, faithful and true, just as Moses reminds us in Exodus 14:13, “Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.” The word for stand firm in Exodus means, “to stand still.” How often when suffering comes do we wish to flee from it or find some outlet to deal with our pain that only brings about more destruction in our lives?

Yet, God calls us to simply stand still, lift up our heads and with joy, believe Him for our deliverance. In our persevering we will be blessed. God might not deliver us fully from that which is causing us our suffering. However, He may use it to deliver us from pride, selfishness, doubt or some deep rooted issue we’ve kept hidden for far too long.

Dear sister, dear brother, whatever life brings you today I want to encourage you to trust God; stand up, stand firm, persevere and stay up under the weight of your suffering. For your God is faithful and gives you the grace to stand up and lift up your head no matter what life brings your way. For truly, we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. (Romans 8:37)57dbc54b2b35b6ff8d568e3045066360

What Do You Want Me to Do for You?

“he shouted all the more”…..(Luke 18:39)

I used to live with crippling fear that my brokenness might become exposed.  I would hide who I really was for fear of other people’s opinions.

I didn’t want people to know depression, an eating disorder and self-loathing plagued my life, so I did my best to hide.  I put on a happy face in front of others, poured myself into my job and found solace online making friends with people who made me feel good about myself.

Yet, I lived in bondage.  There was no freedom in my hiding.

It wasn’t until I started to “cry out” for deliverance that I found freedom.

I wish I had been like a man found in Luke chapter 18 named Blind Bartimaeus sooner in my life.  Everyone could see his need.  He was blind.  To be quite honest, as much as we try to hide, most people can see our need too.  It was no secret to those around me life was challenging; pain, anguish, and sadness were written all over my face.  My actions proved I was desperately seeking to find love, acceptance and self-worth.

There’s no such thing as hiding our brokenness.  We’re fooling ourselves to think we can.

Bartimaeus was by no means a guy trying to hide anything.  The bible tells us he was begging by the roadside. He heard a crowd passing by, curious he asked who it was.  “It’s Jesus of Nazareth, they told him.”  Without a second thought, immediately, Bartimaeus cries out, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  

The crowd told him to be quiet, but, “He SHOUTED all the more.”  Son of David, have mercy on me!”  

Bartemaues cared more about deliverance than he did about the opinions of other people.  He was desperate for mercy.  He was desperate for the Son of God to intervene in his life and nothing was going to hold him back from his true freedom.

I can picture him waiting with great anticipation for the day Jesus would show up.  The term, “Son of David,”  was a Messianic title, so Bartimaeus knew Jesus was the Messiah; The Savior of the world.  As soon as Jesus shows up I can see his face filling with great joy, his heart dancing with great anticipation because in that moment, his deliverer had come, and nothing was going to stop him from finding freedom.  Not even a crowd of people.

Yet, how often do we allow the crowd to keep us from our true freedom?  We fear people will find out our brokenness or our struggle, so we lay low.  We know in our mind Jesus can set us free, but we’re too afraid to cry out to Him for mercy,  because we fear what other people might think of us.

What would happen if we stopped caring?  What if we cared more about our own personal freedom then our personal positions before other people?  What if we all started crying out for mercy, no matter how foolish we look to other people?   Bartimaues was so persistent he was healed.  Jesus had him brought to Him and asked Bartimaues, “What do you want me to do for you?”  Without hesitation, he said, “Lord, I want to see.”  

What about you?  Are you desperate enough to cry out to your Lord for mercy?  If Jesus were to call you to Himself and ask you that very same question, “what do you want me to do for you,” what would you say?  He already knows your need.  All He’s asking you to do is ask, then, His mercy meets our requests and we find grace in our time of need.