Trying to Protect Jesus

Last week, my friend Luis had a dream he shared with me that has left a mark in my heart as well. Here’s how he recounted it to me:

Luis was in the mountains engaged with a hoard of wicked beasts who were trying to devour people around him. These were not animals, but terrifying monsters, and Luis had a gun to defend against them.

Then, in the snow, he noticed a trail of blood heading up the mountain. He knew it wasn’t from the animals, but from someone in trouble. As he followed it up the mountain the drops of blood kept increasing until it became a small rivulet and then a flow of blood. Rushing to the top, he was shocked to see that the blood was flowing from Jesus as he hung on the cross.

Jesus looked right at him and his eyes of love held Luis for a moment, touching him deeply. But the beasts were coming, so Luis rushed up to the cross and turned around to protect Jesus.

Luis was overwhelmed. There were too many for him to fight off. And then, Jesus spoke to him. “Luis, why don’t you trust me?”

Luis was confused and hurt by his words. As he continued to battle, he shouted out, “Trust you? Don’t you see I’m trying to protect you?”

“But you turned your back on me.”

“I am trying to protect you. If I turn around, I’ll be devoured?”

Jesus answered, “Don’t you trust me to deal with them?”

Despite his fear, Luis turned away from the wild beasts and was surprised to discover Jesus standing right in front of him, no longer on the cross.

Jesus spoke again, “Where are your enemies now?”

Luis realized it had grown quiet behind him. He turned his head and saw all the monsters were lying dead on the hillside.

As he turned back to Jesus, Jesus embraced him tenderly. “Luis, when will you learn that I am the only weapon you need?”

That’s when he woke up.

Some dreams are difficult to interpret or understand. This is not one of them. Laying down his weapons is a lesson Jesus has been teaching Luis for over a year. Growing up in a cartel-riddled section of Mexico with an army Captain who took him under his wing, Luis was trained for mountain combat. But life in this kingdom works very different from the ways of the world.

Could it be true that as well-intentioned as we might be as we take on Jesus’s enemies, we are only turning our back on him to engage a fruitless fight we cannot win? Isn’t that Peter cutting off the ear of the high priest, or Israel making an alliance with Egypt against the Assyrians. If we’re not careful, our best intentions for Jesus can have the opposite effect of what we are trying to accomplish. The Scriptures are full of such examples, as is are own lives if we look carefully. This kingdom works backwards in almost every way our natural inclinations will lead us, which is why Jesus invites us to be led by the Spirit and not our “best wisdom” or “good intentions.”

Jesus has already disarmed the powers of darkness on the cross. As we find our rest in him, we will discover just how defeated they are.

And only by keeping him before us can we see what he wants of us in the world.

Trying to Protect Jesus Read More »

Where Trust Grows

Sara and I have left Little Rock and headed into South Texas, with stops in Waco, Austin, Wimberley, and Bulvedere (San Antonio) over the next 12 days. Details are on the travel page. We are having a wonderful time seeing what adventures and conversations God has for us each day. We’ve been talking a lot about the growth curve to trust. It is definitely easier to recognize God’s hand and trust his provision when you are at rest inside than when you are tossed about by anxiety.

But far from a choice we make, our trust is the growing response to the love Jesus reveals to us. You can’t try to trust more; you can only learn how he wants you to relax into his love. Then, you’ll be free to trust when you realize you were never in control of your life or the circumstances coming at you.

Trust. It is so easy to talk about, but so hard to put into practice. Nothing is more theologically certain than that God is faithful and trustworthy. But learning how to live in that trust through the twists and turns of our lives is the most difficult challenge we face.

It took God almost Abraham’s entire life to teach Abraham the joy of trusting him. But he did it. Even when he was asked to give up his only son and heir, he trusted God’s plan and God’s nature enough to set about the task. This, from the one who had risked his wife’s virtue by lying to Pharaoh that she was not his wife. This, from the one who had impregnated his wife’s maidservant when it didn’t appear God would give Sarah the child he promised.

To accomplish that, God did some extraordinary things for Abraham. Rest assured, God knows how difficult it is for you to trust him. He is not threatened by that nor angry with you.

He simply wants you to keep your eye on him and learn.

He knows that only by trusting him can you participate in a relationship with him and enjoy the fullness of life in his household. He also knows that you’ll trust him only to the degree that you are certain of his love for you.

I used to believe that trust was a choice, but it isn’t. We can only pretend to trust. God wants to win us into trust by winning us into his love. When you know he is all-powerful and wise beyond anything you can imagine on your best day and that he sees you, knows you, and loves you more than anyone on this planet ever has, you will grow to trust him as you watch how he cares for you. No, it won’t be by meeting your perceived needs but by leading you into his truth and light that will set to right what life in a broken world has done.
The excerpt above is from Chapter Four of He Loves Me, which will be the focus of our next gathering of the He Loves Me Book Discussion, which will be held this Sunday, October 8, at 11:00 a.m. PDT. We’ll be finishing up Chapter 3 and moving on through Chapter 4. We are discovering together how to live loved by the Father and to allow that love to increase our trust in his reality and desires for us.
You can find the link for this conversation on the Group Page on Facebook, or if you are not a member of Facebook, you can write me for a link. These discussions are held live, recorded, and posted on Zoom. If you can’t join us, catch the conversation on the Wayne Jacobsen Author Page on Facebook.
You can see replays of our previous gatherings here:  


Where Trust Grows Read More »