Thursday, February 11, 2016

Daily Devotional: February 11

Week 3, Day 4, The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter 14

In Matthew's account of the death of John the Baptist, he mentions how Jesus reacted when He heard what happened. I think this is interesting because it again affirms a fact about Jesus commonly forgotten by our churches: Jesus was a man.

We affirm the divine nature of Jesus, but have a tendency to neglect His humanity. Jesus experienced all the emotions and desires and feelings of a human person, and in this story we see him react to the loss of a loved one. Jesus withdrew to a quiet place, to collect Himself, but when He got there, crowds were already waiting on Him.

How do you respond to stress?

In this story, Jesus hears terrible news and then tries to spend time alone to process this news, but is interuppted by a crowd demanding signs. He performs for them, and then feeds them miraculous food, before he can finally go up on a mountanside to pray. From verse 13 to 22, Jesus is trying to get away to spend time with His father, but He still finds time to minister to people in front of Him.

It is extremely easy to lash out at people when we are stressed. I am guilty of that, admittedly. I bottle up stress in ways that make me explode on people who have nothing to do with the situation. Grief is a heavy stress. It weighs you down, tires you out, and drains you unlike anything else. It would be very easy to excuse yourself if you mistreat someone while grieving.

How do you respond to stress?

Jesus, being a human, is our constant example of humanity. He understood that to process His grief for the death of His friend, he needed to be alone in a solitary place. However, He was still aware of the needs of others. When we grieve, it is easy to rank our pain as higher than everyone else's, and to dismiss their pain. Jesus, our example, is able to identify further with pain through His own, not in spite of it.

Allow yourself to find what you need to be whole. Is it a creative outlet? A good book? We all recharge in different ways, and we need to be aware of those ways. We also need to be able to submit ourselves to the needs of others for a time. Spend time finding your center, allowing yourself to feel the Presence.  

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About Drew

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A follower of Jesus, trying to build myself and others up from the inside out.