This is a guest post from Jason Ayres – a teacher in Sydney, Australia who has appeared as a guest post before. Jason suffers from cerebral palsy, but as you can see from the post below, that hasn’t stopped him from maintaining a positive outlook on life. Here’s an inspirational post from Jason that’s sure to make you look a little bit differently at your circumstances – no matter what they might be. If you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
One Saturday night, when I was 18, I went to visit some neighbors who recently moved to our area. I was actually going to apologize for a noisy party we were having at a friend's house next door. I thought they might be upset.
But to my surprise, they weren’t. In fact, when they opened the door, I saw a very thin, shy man and his equally thin, shy wife watching from afar. I was expecting them to be upset; but instead they invited me in for coffee!
Immediately I noticed something different about them. The wife brought out a tray from which the husband handed me what looked like a small bowl full of dark coffee. I didn't want to offend, so I hid my confusion and smiled and drank it all at once.
WHOA! I soon learned that the coffee, like my neighbors themselves, was Arabic in origin. Unlike my neighbors though, the coffee was extremely bitter! Very potent!
Soon after however, the wife brought out another tray – this time full of a sweet, rich pastry that our Lebanese neighbors call ‘baklava’. It wasn’t long before the level of honey in that dessert made me completely forget the bitter aftertaste from the coffee.
In the trials of life, in the confusing times, bitterness creeps up on us like a cup of my neighbor's coffee.
It rarely gives any warning or advanced notice. If it did, we could say “I'm steering clear of that area;" but it doesn’t. It just kind of shows up at the door of our hearts – uninvited and unwanted. It may take some time – like a few cups of that strong brew – but the bitterness works its way inside and wreaks havoc on our hearts.
That’s when I think about Jesus. If anybody had the right to be bitter about the trials of life, it was Jesus. Let's start at Christmas....no, even 'the night before Christmas'! Scattered throughout the gospels are times when Jesus could've said, "You know what – you people just don't get this. I'm packing up and going home!"
Even at His most troubled moments in life – like in the garden of Gethsemane before His arrest and crucifixion – He still couldn’t rely on His friends to gather for a special prayer meeting without them dozing off!
Everyone let Him down. Judas, His disciple, let Him down. The Pharisees and the Jews – His own people – let Him down. Even Pontius Pilate – a man who recognized His innocence – let Him down as well.
Even on Easter Sunday – after Jesus rises from the dead – He couldn't even rely on those closest to Him to recognize Him despite all the times He told them that He would rise again.
But through all the challenges, the heartaches and the bitter tears, Jesus never let bitterness into His heart. He always submitted Himself entirely to His Father’s will, no matter how much it may have hurt. In other words, “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
He wouldn't give in to bitterness. That’s why He was able to get to the sweetness.
Are you going through a trial? Does it seem like God isn’t coming through on His end of the deal like He’s “supposed to”? Do you see that bitterness is creeping in? If so, acknowledge it and choose not to accept it.
I hope you can look up today – no matter what bitterness you may be tasting – and receive some heavenly baklava.