Encouragement

Stay on Your Cross! One Defining Moment in Time – A word by M. Russell Thomas, PhD

I am a clinical psychologist in my 41st year of practicing in southeast North Carolina. I don’t have a “ministry”, as most think of ministry. I have no speaking itineraries or large social media following…and I’m good with that. My claim to fame is that 48 years ago Jesus told me no longer am I a slave, but a friend (John 15:15) and…I believed Him! I prefer to hang out with my wife, my 13 children (including 3 adopted boys) and 7 grandchildren, and I get up and go to work each day. I’m just an everyday man trying to be light and convey Good News in this world. This is my calling. Its who I am. Website: simplesolutions4.com

Stay on Your Cross! One Defining Moment in Time – A word by M. Russell Thomas, PhD

M. Russell Thomas, PhD

Email: [email protected]

My God! My God! Why have you deserted me?

Matthew 27:46

Have you ever watched a sporting event and the game all comes down to the final play? Maybe the kicker is up for a field goal with 1 second left on the clock, the guy is shooting a free throw with the score tied and no time left on the clock, or maybe the bases are loaded with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth. The game is defined and forever remembered by one defining moment.

I read Matthew 27 this morning and I have that kind of feeling. I have to admit, I don’t really like reading this passage. I’m not sure exactly why. Maybe Jesus seems a little too vulnerable and I don’t want to think of Him in that way. Or maybe the reality sets in that this moment was all about my sin. Or maybe its tough to reconcile the thought that the Father didn’t seem to be there when needed and the infamous “why?” question rears its ugly head. Whatever, I can’t help but wonder if this was the moment. That one moment in the history of mankind where everything was decided and sealed.

I’ve heard sermons about what Jesus was feeling in this moment and how this is the darkest hour ever, where the weight of sin bore down on Him. And I don’t think that inaccurate in anyway. But today, I had the sense that this was a moment that defined the entire game. It was a moment not only defined by a feeling but also a decision. It is a moment that Jesus decided, that in spite of everything within Him screaming to call down angels and put an end to the unbearable experience of separation and abandonment, to stay on the cross and finish His Father’s will.

I wish I didn’t identify with Jesus’ feelings here. But I do. The difference is, He stayed on the cross. How many times have I felt “deserted”, ended up taking things into my own hands and only to face disastrous consequences? These moments are defined not just by their emotional intensity but the choices we make in them. This was Jesus’ defining moment. It was a moment when His humanity cried out, but His trust won out. And just like that, this defining moment, changed everything for all of us, for all eternity. It is the quintessential moment that surrenders without evidence. There was no “confirmational” feeling to the plan of the Father. I dare say that there wasn’t a cell in Jesus’ body at that moment that was feeling it. Feelings of desertion seemingly drowned out any good feelings that may have existed. No, Jesus was running on pure trust in His Father.

This is our example and template. The word for someone today is to follow Jesus’ lead. You’ve been feeling all alone, deserted if you will. You’re trying to fulfill your assignment but you need something. If only God would radiate over you, send an angel to wipe your brow or just hold you. You’re trying to stay on track with what you believe God has spoken to you, but feelings of desertion and abandonment surround you like a pack of wolves waiting to devour you. And now, you’ve got a choice. Feel what you feel. Question the Father as to His whereabouts if you need. Cry out with every emotion known to mankind, if you must. But stay on your cross!Your will is being fully crucified into that of the Father’s. Your glorious resurrection is only…3…short…days…ahead!

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