“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!”
Matthew 23:37, NIV
Jesus wept over Jerusalem, and the religious leaders whose pride made them reject His input into their lives. He longed to gather them together, as a hen gathers her chickens together to care for and protect them. But they would not come to Him.
This one of the most challenging passages in the whole of the Gospels! The words “would not” speak right into the very core of our lives, for they prompt a very penetrating question. Are there things in our lives for which we need prayer and help, but which we steadfastly refuse to bring to the Lord or seek help for? Hidden things, perhaps, which we choose to ignore because the personal cost to us of letting God in to the heart of the situation, whatever it is, is more than we are prepared to pay.
So we struggle on, knowing that there is an issue that we need to face, but refusing to face it. It’s not surprising that James said that we need to confess things one to another in order to be healed – for that deals with the pride which so often stands in the way of facing the truth about ourselves.
Sometimes the issue can have its root way back in our lives. The root can become so well established, beneath the ongoing saga of human life and its issues, that we don’t even know what it is! Sometimes there is pain or sin associated with it and we have chosen to hang on to the problem, rather than face reality. Sometimes we have a love/hate relationship with the problem – this is especially the case with things that have a grip on us such as alcohol, pornography or an ungodly relationship. We desperately need help for the problem, but because we actually like it, we don’t want to even recognise it as being wrong, let alone seek the help we really need!
Whatever such a problem might be, remember that Jesus is not phased by it, or its magnitude. He actually longs to gather you into His arms and help you face it and resolve it. But we have to own it, recognise that we need help and, finally, want the prayer that we have known all along we really need!
Prayer: Thank You Lord that Your love for me is unconditional. I am sorry, Lord, for the times when I have chosen not to face ‘home truths’ about myself and come to You for help, when Your help is what I desperately need. Help me not to be like the Pharisees, whose pride kept them from coming to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.