And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’ Luke 4:5-8
If I’m struck with a disease no one can cure, I feel powerless. If I’m trapped in a loveless marriage, I feel powerless. If I’m languishing under a mountain of debt and there is no way to repay it, I feel powerless.
Powerlessness drives me to edge of utter despair. Feeling powerless is not a sin but what I choose to believe next determines whether faith will live or die.
Was Jesus struck with the temptation to feel powerless? I suspect the answer is yes when I consider that a wilderness is not something anyone can control. Jesus was powerless against a place with no water, no food, and no shelter. Powerlessness was another one of Satan’s attacks against Jesus. Just as Satan wanted Him to feed Himself prematurely by turning stones to bread, He also wanted Jesus to assume power and authority prematurely so there would be no need to go to the cross. But Jesus knew that suffering comes before glory.
Was He tempted to ease the pain of powerlessness by taking Satan’s bait? If He was tempted in every way that we are, I believe the answer is yes. But He understood that the avenue to this premature authority would mean satanic worship. Jesus, once again, saw through the lure, chose suffering, and quoted scripture to silence His tempter. He served the enemy legal papers by reminding him that there is only one God to worship.
Many never pray until they feel powerless. There is only One who is mighty to save when all else fails. Waiting for His salvation is the hard part. We never know if God’s saving hand will be immediate or deferred. We know that in some cases, our own glory also comes after suffering.
In whatever ways you are tempted to give up waiting on God today to go for some man-made, Satan-endorsed, remedy….stop. Your way of coping simply might be to stop hoping and to succumb to numbing despair. But those who hope in God will never be put to shame. Each of us could benefit by looking into the face of what traps us today to declare the following ~ “I am small and powerless but I rest in the hands of my powerful God. Never have I been safer. Never have I had a greater panorama of options.”
I don’t need to see. You look over the top of my cage and plan my victory. Amen