by Mike Phay
Last week I took a team from our church to Canada to visit some missionary friends. Even though we were as prepared as I thought we could be, we were still detained at the border for nearly an hour. Thankfully, we made it into the country, although not without a minor bit of stress. Within two hours of that fiasco, I had the distinct unpleasure of viewing the flashing lights of a police car in my rearview mirror. “Sir, I pulled you over because you were going 73 in a 50 zone.” Wow! That’s fast! Oh, wait. Canada’s metric. 73 km/h is pretty close to 50 mph. Whoops. Conversion is a beast.
And so within two hours in a new country, I had been detained by immigration agents and then ticketed by Canada’s finest. (And I thought the cops up there only rode horses!) As much time preparing and praying for this trip to go smoothly, by this time I wasn’t sure if we would ever get to our destination. Thankfully, that was the end of our troubles with the law, and the remainder of our trip was smooth and wonderful.
One of the things that consistently threatens to derail discipleship is the presence of continual resistance and opposition. Like being pulled over – again and again. Or being continuously undermined by a passive-aggressive employee. Or constantly being questioned about your decisions by a spouse or teenage child. We all know what resistance and opposition feel like.
Thankfully, Jesus is not surprised by this kind of opposition. In fact, He actually prepared us for this, telling His disciples that they would “have tribulation” in this world. But “take heart,” he assured them, “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Along with the comfort of Jesus’ victory – the fact that we fight in a battle with a fixed and certain outcome – we can be assured in the midst of the opposition that Jesus has not left us alone. “Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” He promised His disciples (Matthew 28:20). Indeed, He has even sent the Holy Spirit to be with and in all those who believe (John 14:16-17). He has not left us as orphans (John 14:18).
Jesus has also ensured us that His mind and heart are with us, proven in the fact that He prays for us. The 17th chapter of John is a written testament to the fact that the Son of God Himself actively prays for us. We can take great comfort in knowing that Jesus – nearly 2,000 years ago – was praying for us: “I do not ask for these only [those disciples who were present], but also for those who will believe in me through their word [all believers of all time]…” (verse 20). Jesus was praying for us – and lest we think he didn’t include us in this sweeping prayer – perhaps we think that the timeframe is just too big – let us remember that we belonged to Him even then, for “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). Jesus is not limited by our timeframes.
Take this in: The Son of God prayed for us. For you and for me. And the fact is that Jesus continues to pray for us, for He “always lives to make intercession” for His followers (Hebrews 7:25). He is “at the right hand of God…interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).