Luke 19:41-42 (NKJV):
41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,
42 saying,"If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
This is something that God reminded me of today when I was listening the sermon of Jon Courson on Lamentations 3. Jeremiah wept over the destruction of Jerusalem, and Jesus wept over the destruction of Jerusalem. God`s heart is for the people, and this is the sole purpose for going through whatever hardships we have to endure in order to save at least one soul from eternal condemnation and hell. This is God`s desire, so we weep and intercede for the people, and especially for the family if they are unsaved, instead of whining.
God has really changed my heart and matured me over the past few years especially. My life has been very hard, and my trials are not over yet, but like with Jeremiah, when he was persecuted and imprisoned for saying God`s words, God used these hardships to change my heart to weep over people instead of whine over my own problems and injustices. A lot of times, as believers, we tend to think that we are entitled to the green bright street where everything is perfectly orchestrated, but that`s not true. For some of us, we have conquering lives of David and Samuel, and Solomon, and for some of us we have lives of Jeremiah, Isaiah, Zachariah, who all died by the hand of people who refused to listen to the word of God.
It really struck me today when reading the devotional by Bob Hoekstra, the way I was reminded from the scripture in Hebrews of all these people who had to suffer and were afflicted all their lives never to see the results of their weeping and prayers producing vivid results during their life time.
36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted,[f]were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented- 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, (Hebrews 11:36-39 NKJV).
Bob Hoekstra wrote:
Some had to endure by faith "trialof mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment."Jeremiah exemplifies these. "O LORD…I am in derision daily; everyone mocks me…Therefore the princes were angry with Jeremiah, and they struck him and put him in prison"(Jeremiah 20:7;37:15). Some "were stoned."Zechariah was killed in this fashion when he gave warnings from the Lord. "So they conspired against him, and…stoned him with stones" (2 Chronicles 24:21). Some "were sawn in two."Tradition tells us that Isaiah died in this vicious manner. Some "were tempted." In the midst of their sufferings, they were further pained by enticements to ungodly responses. Job endured this through bad counsel from his own wife. "Do you still hold to your integrity? Curse God and die!" (Job 2:9). Some "were slain with the sword." King Saul ordered godly priests to be executed this way, because they were loyal to David: "'…kill the priests!' So Doeg the Edomite…killed on that day eighty-five men…." (1 Samuel 22:18). Others "wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented."By faith, these saints had to endure homelessness, poverty, distress, and harassment.
This is a reminder for me not to think that I am entitled to the green street with bright red roses laid out. Jesus wept over Jerusalem because people were so hardhearted and unyielding to His word. He was weeping of the upcoming destruction and judgment on the city and on the people because they rejected the truth, they rejected the Lord. I am called to weep over my husband and over my unsaved family, so God would continue to battle for their lives. This is our call today: to weep instead of whine.
Jonah was a whiner because when God sent him to Nineveh to urge people to repent, he was thinking about his own distress and anger for Assyrians. He had a right to feel all that anger because they were oppressing Israelites. The part that Jonah omitted in his complaints to the Lord is the fact the Israelites were afflicted for their rejection of the Lord and going into idolatry; severe idolatry forsaking the only and true God of all. When that happens, when we forsake God, He gives us up for a while as a reprove, and Jonah is a great example of that; he was inside of the whale`s belly for 3 days and 3 nights before he repented and was given a second chance to fulfill God`s purpose.
I was like Jonah, a whiner, because for a while I chose to say: "Why?" instead of "Lord, forgive them for they do not know what they do". I had a choice to make whether to be a weeper for the Lord interceding for His lost people, or to be a whiner and concentrate on my own pain, sorrow and injustices. I choose to be His servant and intercede for His lost sheep. I may not see the result right away or even in my lifetime; like Jeremiah was called to weep and intercede and see the destruction of the unyielding hearts, but I want to do what God calls me to do instead of living a self-concentrated life.
This is truly a miracle for me to see myself come of age so much and mature in my walk with the Lord because now I don`t even react to some of the painful things that I would blow up before. Now, the only thing that matters to me is to be that vessel for God`s glory to save the lost souls. All the anger and hatred is simply gone from my heart. He gave me a new heart that chooses to love the unlovable instead of wishing them destruction.
I think we all have this choice whether to be the weeper for the Lord and intercede for those who are lost regardless of what they`ve done to us; or to be a whiner, like Jonah was, disobeying the word of the Lord only because we seek our own justice. Believe it or now, but it is a lot more rewarding and joyful to intercede for those who persecute us, and defile us, and betray us rather than seek their punishment because we realize that by standing in the gap for them before the Lord, we fulfill the Lord`s will, and when we do that, we have nothing to fear or to be ashamed of. This is when we can confidently say that Lord is my refuge; I will not fear.
I forsook the desires of my heart and all my plans only so I could continue to pray for God`s will. God`s will for my life right now is to intercede for my husband to seek the Lord with his whole heart, so he could submit to Jesus like I did a while ago. Everything else is vanity if in the end his soul would be lost and forever condemned.
I urge you to ask yourself whether you weep or whine in your life; whether you choose the higher calling from God to choose afflictions with no end instead of temporary comfort and joy. Our lives are only so many years on this earth, and after that we will have to face God and to give account for everything we knew, yet we chose to walk our own paths. God makes us accountable for the knowledge He gives us. The media news only prove about the instability of our world today and for the upcoming return of Jesus; however, what people forget about is when Jesus returns for the second time, He will return as a Judge. I want to be able to look Him in the eyes and give full account of everything I could do, that I did it. This would be the greatest reward for me to see Jesus tell me: Well done, my friend!"
I had to make conscious choices to forgive and to reject the anger for those who betrayed me. I had to make a conscience choice to pray for those who persecute me and seek to destroy my life. I had to pray for God to replace the entire wrath that I had in my heart with His love. It was a conscious genuine choice based on the scriptures that God kept showing me over and over again. It wasn`t a one day trick, but it takes me day in and day out dwelling in His Word, praying, fasting, and battling with my thoughts taking them captive into the obedience to Christ.
These are the practical steps. There is no magic to them; they simply take devotion, surrender to the Lord, and patience. I am amazed and blessed to see the fruits of the Holy Spirit that I was so eager to see but so lacking in sacrificing of certain things in order to yield to God and His word.
If you have some hatred in your heart and anger, bitterness and resentment, I urge you to pray. I am not saying that I don`t have pain in my heart because that would be a lie. I am simply saying that I chose to obey God`s word, and it producing harvest of deliverance for me from the nets of bitterness, destruction, and unforgiveness.
Jesus gave us a new commandment:
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35 NKJV)
This is not just advice from the Lord, but this is a commandment to love one another and to intercede for one another. This requires genuine weeping because weeping produces sorrow and care for others. This is how others would know that we follow Jesus is when we turn the other cheek when someone strikes us. It could be emotional betrayal, physical, financial. I was betrayed on all three of these levels, yet I choose not to surrender to Satan and give up praying for my husband because if I did that, I would have obliged Satan exactly with what he was trying to accomplish by attempting to destroy my life.
This brings me to another important aspect of the call to pray and weep for the people: we can either yield to Satan and choose sorrow for ourselves; self-pity is only self-destruction because it limits God`s work in our lives, yet it opens the door for Satan to sow lies in our hearts that we yield to believing in that state of mind. This is exactly what happened to me when I chose to be angry and dwell on injustices done to me; I chose self-pity and lies from Satan; I didn`t want to pray for my husband for some time. It didn`t do anything but damage and extended my trials, so I had to repent and choose to weep for the lost heart instead of whining for my own pains.
Jesus said very clearly that if we don`t do what He commands us to do, we are not His friends.
14You are My friends if you do whatever I command you (John 15:14 NKJV).
He gave us a new commandment to love one another even when it seems impossible. God can work with the impossible when we desire Him to do that. I chose to forgive, to love, to intercede and constantly pray, to weep instead of whine for the lost hearts, and God was gracious and merciful to give me a second chance.
Jonah was given a second chance when he repented, and this is what so great about our Lord: He is the God of a second chance. If we fall and repent, He will uphold us and show us the steps to continue in His walk.
As I`m writing this, my heart is full of joy for being able to see two of my nephews and my sister whom I haven`t seen in 3 years because of our distance in where we live. Her older son, who is turning three in a couple of days, was a miracle baby and a living testimony of God doing the impossible. He was born at 26 weeks gestation because my sister had a complicated pregnancy with the worst case of preeclampsia. She had to be flown into the hospital in Arizona in order for the doctors to save her life, so they pulled her son at 26 weeks, but due to her complications, he wasn`t gaining weight, so when they pulled him he was only 13,5 inches long and 1.3 pounds in weight. She spent 4 months in the IC hospital with him and we spent days in and out in fasting and praying for his life and health. He is an absolutely gorgeous boy, very clever although he was prematurely born by 3 months, and he is absolutely healthy without any mental retardation or other health complications. When I picked them up at the airport yesterday I saw how Mighty God is for preserving his life and healing him completely of any diagnoses that doctors thought he had in the beginning and projected complications with health.
When God delivers, He delivers for good. When He heals, He heals for good. When I look at my boys, I see how mighty and faithful God is; these boys are growing up to love the Lord and to serve Him. They are kind and funny and very clever. The best break that God could give me at this tough time in my life is to have my close family with me for over a month as a constant reminder of His deliverance and redemption.
I urge you today if you have constant anger, bitterness and hatred in your heart for being justly or unjustly betrayed/abused to make a conscious decision to forgive, to love, and to pray for those who harmed you. God would be faithful to restore you, just like He`s been working with my heart. In the end, we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God, so please don`t think of yourself as anything better than those who betrayed you. Each one of us has some areas where we fall short and could never justify ourselves in the eyes of the Lord, yet Jesus stood in that gap and wept for His people; He wept for the city knowing if the people didn`t repent and yield to His word, they would be destroyed.
If Jesus wept out of sorrow and compassion for the people, wouldn`t we too care about those who are at least close to us, to weep for them and intercede for their hearts to accept Jesus as their Savior and surrender their lives to God completely.