Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out. John 18:4
The time for the cross is upon Jesus. He knows it and surrenders willingly to the authorities coming to arrest him. This is not the first time that his life has been in danger. Numerous times before, he fled to retire for a while to some obscure place because he knew that the timing for his death was premature Satan would have loved to tamper with God’s timetable but Jesus never allowed it.
We’re told that we will be called upon to take up our cross and follow Jesus. However, knowing the proper time is as critical for us as it was for Jesus. Satan brings crisis after crisis meant to overwhelm us and to bring us to destruction. Often unaware of his tactics, we mistake painful scenarios as our time for bearing our cross rather than treating them as a mirage of the Evil One. When we should be engaging in spiritual warfare, we retire instead, and then carry our counterfeit cross on the shoulders of immature, feeble faith. Not able to withstand the pressure, we crumble in defeat and wonder why God wasn’t faithful to give grace in our time of need.
On the flip side, there are conflicts we should excuse ourselves from. There are illnesses to pray against. There are blows to our character needing a tough-love response rather than a turning of the other cheek. Knowing when to retire or resist is critical. God can show us what is needless pain meant to harm us and what is his cross, the cross that allows us to share in Jesus’ suffering.
If I face suffering that is in your perfect, plan, Lord, I surrender. To all else I take up a sword of your Word against the plans of our enemy. Amen