I asked the question today, “Is it possible to come out of prayer feeling worse.” I really didn’t expect to get a lot of answers but I got two that went in the direction that I would have gone-yes it is possible. One reminded me of the story of Jesus in the Garden praying right before he goes to the cross. (Matthew 26:36-46) There is this intensity associated with his time in prayer that is unlike any other scene that I can remember in scripture. We read up many times that Jesus goes to pray but never are we allowed to take that deep of a look at him while praying. The synoptic Gospels tell the story, each one with a different twist but still the same wrenching effect, that Jesus is praying but wrestling with the outcome. How do you really pray about something that needs to happen but yet the price it will cost you will cost you your life.
Reconciliation takes on that concept in some areas for me. I read of cases of hatred, racism, sexism and classism every day and wrestle with the entire premise of reconciliation. How do you reconcile with folks who do not want to be reconciled with…? Yes the bible declares that we are minsters of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18) but the price that comes with that position is tremendous. This title engenders us to a position of peace that places in right in the line of fire to be ridiculed for the sake of the Kingdom of God. We have to endure racist taunts, sexist commentary and tasteless class jokes all in the cause of preserving the image of Christ–the opportunity to participate in spreading the fame of Christ through our daily living.
Reconciliation is a revolutionary act of God with an established blueprint set by Jesus as he comes and gives his life for us. he prayer time in the garden exemplifies this struggle. His humanity debates with his divinity about the price of reconciling man back to God. This is a real dilemma and phenomena to understand because Jesus understood that not everyone wanted to be redeemed or would treat him fairly, as we would soon see with Judas. I am not sure if Jesus reconciled this within himself but I do know that he did the work. So as a blueprint for us, maybe we need to get past our own fears and trepidation and just do the work.