The tears ran down my face as the weight of all that had happened ripped through my heart. “I feel like I have been forced to stare down the dark throat of evil over and over and over.” The words choked out of me in that little room in East Africa. “It is exhausting.”
I had always been taught that doing missions was this epic, glorious, even heroic thing. I’d spent my teenage years reveling in the stories of the brave women and men who had proclaimed the gospel to the ends of the earth in centuries gone by. But what my little team had just gone through made me realize that missions can feel more like a bloody war than a victory march. I was deeply broken and shaken. We had just experienced a dire medical emergency requiring air evacuation, haunted faces and heart-shattering stories of refugees we met, and intense demonic oppression.
The nights were the worst. I sobbed, “God, where are You? Why is this happening?” It felt like He had gone into another room and shut the door. But then…
Through the blurriness of my tears, I looked up. In my little guest room, just above the desk, hung a crucifix. God crucified in the dark. And I knew. I just knew. He did not, does not, turn away from our pain. He entered right into evil’s dark throat. He let it kill Him, and through that cross, He conquered it.
I was not alone. The pain was real, the terror was palpable still. But He was with me.
Jesus felt our pain and sorrow so deeply that it drove Him to the point of crying out, “God, why have You abandoned me?” What does this tell you about Jesus? What does this tell you about your own pain?
Think of a difficult circumstance in your life. What do you hope for as a result? What do you fear might happen?
For a more in-depth devotional time, we suggest you listen to the story again and think through the following six questions:
- What did I like in the story?
- What did I find confusing in this story?
- What did I learn about humanity?
- What did I learn about God/Jesus/God’s Spirit?
- How can I apply this story to my life?
- Who can I tell this story to?