Behold your King,
Lion of Judah, Lamb of God,
With His face set like a flint,
Heart settled to do the Will of the Father.
Courageous, quiet, confident,
Trusting in the word given to Him by His Father.
Stopping to heal in the midst of a betrayal,
Silently enduring every slight, every pain
For He had hidden Himself in the heart of the Father.
Stopping to comfort the weeping women
as broken and burdened He climbed to His death.
Seeking forgiveness at the Father’s hands
for those who were torturing Him.
Giving assurance and peace to a last minute Penitent.
Making sure His mother was taken care of.
Enduring the torment and weight of sin and the darkness of despair it brought.
Experiencing weakness, infirmity and temptation,
God-forsaken so that The God-forsaken would be brought back to the Father’s arms.
Keeping His eyes fixed on the Father and the freed prisoners of hope.
Paying in full the debt of sin that was owed,
Dry, cracked lips victoriously crying ‘It is finished!’
Trustingly, lovingly yielding and committing His spirit into the Father’s hands.
Look at Him, Perfect Love, all human loves transcending,
Free of fear hanging on a cross, crowned by thorns.
Earthly kings and kingdoms don’t impress Him.
Worldly titles and wealth don’t lure Him.
Pain, insults, injustice don’t crush Him.
Look at Him, drink deep of His comforting love.
Every thought of self and fear of man
Will be lost in the light of His glory and grace.
Looking at Jesus broke some shackles in the hearts of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. The fear of man which had held them captive was broken. All through the trial and the crucifixion of Jesus, they had seen His great courage and inner strength on display. Every lash, every insult, every question had been faced with a calm dignity which could only have come from God. As their gaze was fixed on him something was happening in their hearts. Fear of God was replacing the fear of man.
Now, they stepped out of the closet, trembling, to be sure, but they chose to reveal themselves to be friends and well-wishers of Jesus. The disciples had run to the closet and had bolted it because they were consumed by the fear of man and self-preservation. But for Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, fear of God was birthing within them a love which casts out all fear.
As I was thinking of Jesus and His love breaking the power of fear in my life, I felt I should share the story of Lavina (name changed).
Lavina is a widow, with three children. She has no training or education, and so she cleans other people’s homes to earn a living to enable her to feed her children and pay their school fees. Recently her landlord started harassing her to move out of the house in which she had lived for thirty years. With her limited income, finding another house within the same locality was a challenge. She didn’t want to shift to another locality as that would affect her children’s schooling. She asked for time to find another house, but the landlord didn’t want to wait till end of school term. He just gave her a couple of weeks, and started visiting her house every evening accompanied by thugs, threatening her with violence, or worse threatening her daughters with violence.
I know that such a situation would probably have me gibbering with fear. In Lavina I caught a glimpse of the quiet, confidence that Jesus had as He stood before Pilate. Not once did she tremble with fear. She wept before the Lord alright, but she would rise from that time of prayer to face her landlord with equanimity.
Her neighbours wondered how she could calmly go about her work each day. She would tell them, “My Jesus died on the cross, in the confidence that His Father could and would raise Him from the dead”
Whenever I met her, she would turn to me with her face shining bright with the glory of God, and she would say, “God, knows my needs. He will take care of them. All I want is that my neighbours and my landlord should see that my God is mighty to save, and that He is above all powers. He is the One who is in control of my life, not the landlord. Let the Lord show them that He is true to His word.”
“What can I pray for you?” I’d ask her.
“Please pray for my pastor, he needs a house which is closer to his congregation. Pray for the church here and around the world that God would bind our hearts together with His love. Pray for my landlord and his family and their needs. Pray for so and so who is ill … and oh, please do pray for me to find the right house.”
Pray for her pastor, who is already comfortably housed? Pray for him when he doesn’t have a landlord beating at his door? Pray for her landlord’s healing, peace and salvation? Her needs last?
How often I am guilty of letting my needs consume me to the exclusion of all else. How often I talk with people who cannot even begin to see another person’s need or pain. How often I come across people who carry tiny grudges for decades.
What is Lavina’s secret?
She spends hours sitting at the feet of Jesus, gazing into His eyes, drinking deep of His love. This simple, uneducated woman knows the heart of God in a way that many who are highly educated don’t. Her life bears the fruit of abiding in Christ. She spreads the knowledge of His glory not by her words, but by the perfect sweet confidence and peace she has in every situation and by the love and grace she exudes to all. She spends her afternoons visiting, praying and caring for those who are ill.
Today I heard that she had got a house, well within her budget. She got it cheap because some years ago a double murder had taken place in that house. All other renters had shied away, and the house had been shut for a long time.
Her neighbours ask her, “Aren’t you afraid of ghosts and bad karma?”
“Why should I fear? My Jesus is with me, and He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. He has defeated death itself,” Lavina replies.
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1 ESV