“Sometimes, when you are worn down, day after day, relentlessly, with no reprieve for years piled on years, sometimes you lose everything but the ability to cry.” – Leila Sales – Author
Our vacation is sadly coming to an end. It has been a fantastic time of fun, closeness, and celebration of the 20 years the Lord has graciously allowed us in marriage. It has also been a reprieve, not only from work, but from serious circumstances over the years that had left us drained. In this sense the word REPRIEVE means a temporary escape from an unpleasant situation or an undesirable fate. At other times when we hear reprieve we think of cancelling or postponing the punishment of someone, especially someone condemned to death. In the US, inmates on death row awaiting execution can request a reprieve from their state’s Governor. Stories recount their fear of dying and their relief when a reprieve comes. It releases them back to prison, giving an extended time not only to live, but to embrace family and friends, and in the case of the innocent…to fight false imprisonment or receive a pardon. A reprieve is grace and a gift.
There are times when we need a reprieve. Paul described one such time for the church at Corinth. In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11, he wrote, 8We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
Have you ever found yourself in a very stressful situation? where physically, spiritually, emotionally, relationally, financially or vocationally, you thought you would not make it? You were burdened and overwhelmed—seemingly beyond your ability to endure. I’ve been there. At times it feels like you’re literally going to die, but you don’t. You might cry till there are no more tears left, or do the silent scream in a pillow. Perhaps you become depressed; you can’t sleep or get out of bed. You may stop eating, or try live in isolation. Or some folks medicate themselves with food, work, sex, substances, shopping. binge watching TV, partying—or whatever gives a temporary fix. We try to be self-reliant at times when we should call on the Governor of our souls. He doesn’t put band-aids on heart surgery; He offers us a permanent reprieve. Paul went directly to God for deliverance. He also sought the prayers of the saints. What have you been doing? and to whom have you been going? I’m not sure what you’re experiencing, but today I’d like to encourage you to set your hope in the LORD Jesus Christ. The same God who has helped you endure or has brought you out of difficulty in the past is here to deliver, comfort, and keep you now. And if you happen to be stressed, frazzled and at your wits end from overextending yourself —it might be time for you to take a reprieve.