Lent Devotional March 24: God With Us
God With Us
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)
There have been times in my life that I thought I was alone and in the pit, but nothing prepared me for the emotional shock I felt upon descending into the one that Jesus had been held before his crucification.
One of the places we visited on our pilgrimage to Israel last summer was Caiaphas’ house. You will recall Caiaphas was the high priest that questioned Jesus after he was arrested and plotted to have him killed. Below Caiaphas’ house is a pit that is believed to be the location where Jesus spent the night before being crucified. During Jesus’ time the only way in or out of this pit was by a rope wrapped around his body, raised and lowered into the pit. Imagine the pain of that after being beaten by Caiaphas’ guards!
As we descended into the pit, it became darker, cooler and hollower. Sounds echoed off the walls, exaggerating the emptiness. The lights were turned off for a few seconds for us to really feel the impact of the pit. It was pitch dark, cold, and lonely just like it can be in real life. That is when it hit me: how physically alone Jesus was before he was crucified.
How must Jesus have felt being in that pit by himself? He had recently been betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter and now knowing that when he had answered Caiaphas’ question, “Are you the Christ?’ and Jesus responded, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One,” there was no turning back. He was separated from his disciples in the pit but not from God. God was still with him. And therein lies our hope: God is with us.
Being in a pit may be a broken relationship, a stressful job, parenting, financial issues or one of many other problems, but He is still with us. We may think we are alone, but God is always with us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for entering into our hollow spaces of despair, grief and loneliness. Help us remember to call on you to bring hope and light even in our darkest times. In His name we pray, Amen.