Imagine the desert.

What do you picture? Countless sand dunes whipped by brutal winds under a scorching sun? Hostile heat and a barren landscape that extends endlessly toward the horizon?

The Negev in southern Israel can be oppressively hot, but it doesn’t have Sahara-style sand dunes. Instead it’s a desert filled with dirt, rocks and canyons. The bone-white rock that forms the canyon walls stands as a stark reminder of how deadly any desert can be.

If you look carefully at the canyon walls you’ll find black horizontal stripes that look like they were painted on the light-colored surface.

In fact, they’re layers of flint embedded in the limestone.

Flint. That extremely hard, unyielding, quartz stone used as a fire starter or to make ancient hand tools.

God sent his son Jesus to earth for one specific reason: Not to teach or be a Rabbi. Not to heal people or do miracles. 

God sent Jesus to die a violent and unjust death while shouldering the whole world’s burden of sin.

Jesus wasn’t invited or encouraged to go. His decision wasn’t based on suggestion or persuasion. God SENT Jesus to save the world.

God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

John 3:17, NLT

Still. Jesus had to CHOOSE to follow the plan. Remember his prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night he was arrested? Where he prayed for God to “take this cup of suffering away” from him?

As Jesus was wrapping up his ministry in Galilee he knew his destiny lay in Jerusalem. And he knew it was time to go. To complete the task God had sent him to earth to accomplish.

Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.

Luke 9:51, NKJV

This would fulfill what Isaiah had prophesied nearly 800 years earlier, regarding Jesus’ choice to face the cross:

Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.

Isaiah 50:7, NIV

He set his face. Like flint. And he expressed his complete confidence in God’s help, declaring that He would not shrink back from his mission, despite severe suffering, opposition, and humiliation.

Today, what difficult thing do you need to face?

What impossible circumstance in your life can only be handled through God’s strength and ability?

Without minimizing whatever the situation is, pray and ask God to take control. Pray and ask God to give you the courage to face it.

Yes, I’m fairly certain you’ve already prayed about this issue before. That’s okay.

Pray again.

And this time, don’t simply ask God to handle the issue. Ask God to give you the ability to release it to him. To his ability and timing, to his wisdom. And ask God to use this to build your trust in him.

For every overwhelming thing you’re dealing with, turn to God. Ask for his courage to help you face it, and for his strength to bring you through.

That’s worship.