Our pastor preached a very powerful sermon yesterday and I was really moved by her words. The sermon was focused on Jesus praying for His disciples in John 17: 6-19…
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” John 17: 6-19
Of course, Jesus was not only praying for His disciples but for all of His followers. Then and now.
He prayed for our protection. He prayed that we would be sanctified by God’s truth. He prayed that we would be shielded from the evil one.
This was His farewell prayer. He knew that He would be leaving this earth and chose to spend this time praying for His friends. That simple fact is so comforting to me: He asked God, the Creator Of The Universe, to protect his friends. To protect me.
This also reminds me that He wants me to bring His message into the world. He did not ask that I be delivered from this world but that I would be sent out into it.
Out into the oppression and pain. Into the heartache. Into the fear.
In order to share love and compassion. To stand for justice and mercy.
And the promise is this: He will protect me. Protect my heart. Guide my steps. Hold me close.
As I sat in that pew, transfixed by Pastor’s Susan’s message, I was reminded that God suffers when we suffer. He wants His children to know His love.
I could feel Him whisper…I breathe life. I am goodness. I am love.
And, I couldn’t help but think of a dear friend who is suffering and heartbroken. She is in despair. I have prayed for her over and over. Prayed for His grace and His peace. She is in the valley of darkness and needs His protection. She needs Him to hold her in his arms and rock her lovingly. She has suffered great loss and needs His spirit to bring her renewed hope.
I was so encouraged by the message yesterday because it restored my resolve to continue to pray for her and to continue to love her. To show her His love in tangible ways. To show her His truth. That He will make all things beautiful in His time.
This is one of my favorite worship songs… beautiful, restoring, merciful.
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11.