21 Days of Prayer | Day 19

I moved to Banff at age twenty with two suitcases and a heart full of shame. While other young adults flocked to this town for skiing, drugs, and drinking, I only wanted to reconnect with God and the identity I had lost figuring out life on my own. The majestic Rocky Mountains towering above me made God feel close when I felt so far from Him.

Every day I cracked open my Bible to read to a passage. I didn’t do it with the same eagerness as I had done for years. Most days, I felt numb and lost. But I trusted each choice to read was a step closer to reconnecting my identity and relationship with Jesus.

The day I came to John 19, I almost skipped it. Already down, it seemed like reading about Jesus being mocked and crucified wasn’t going to be very inspiring. I wanted something new. But that day something broke in me. The passage came alive in vivid slow motion.

Jesus’ body jolted under the whip laced with animal bone. Lash after lash, I cringed. Bright blood oozed from His wounds. Before He could gather Himself, a soldier shoved thorns on His head.

“No!” I cried aloud, tears streaming. I’d had enough. This was someone who knew everything I had done and not done – and loved me anyway. I couldn’t just watch Him be tortured.

Pilate came out and flaunted Jesus in front of the crowd. “I do not find Him guilty of any crime,” Pilate announced. My hope glimmered. Someone could stand up for Jesus. But seeing a potential riot, Pilate pulled Him in for a private conversation. My admiration grew for Jesus as He stood confidently in who He was and in His purpose without explanation or defense.

Watching the next scenes play out broke me even more. Rejection caused by fear. Pain. Humiliation. Torturous death. My helplessness.

I finally awoke to the Truth. All this time, I’d been trying to earn my way back into God’s presence. I didn’t deserve restoration as much as I longed for it. But what Jesus suffered, He did for me just as much as anyone else. That couldn’t be earned. It was a mountain of grace I could only receive and honor with my whole life. That grace is for you, too. How much can your love for Jesus expand today with this realization?

• Pray that your awe of God’s love would grow deeper today.

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