Sometimes, It’s OK to Be Afraid

In John 12:20-28, Jesus knows the hour of his great work, his death on the cross, is approaching. He has already taught and modeled the life of God’s Kingdom. He has already recruited and trained people to further the mission once he is gone. Now it is time to “set things right.” Hearing that there were Greek visitors in Jerusalem who wanted to meet him seems to have been a marker that the time for his passion was near.
Was Jesus excited? Confident? Humbled? Perhaps he was a bit of all of these things, but what John tells us is that Jesus was troubled. Jesus clearly had his death on his mind (see 12:24-25 and 32-33), and there was a moment of trouble in his heart.
Isn’t this kind of troubled anxiety exactly what we all experience when we face a good but difficult task? All work is hard, whether it is teaching, building, designing, serving, studying or cleaning up the house. On many days, there is a moment of trouble before I begin. What this passage teaches me is that this moment is ok. My work today will not likely require my physical death, but it will certainly cost me energy, attention and a little sacrifice. (My guess is that all good work requires these things.)
Father, help me “set my face” to my work today and bravely walk into the small sacrifices You have called me to, even if my heart is troubled as I begin.

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