What do your prayers sound like? When the pressures of life are pressing you down, when it feels like there is no hope at all, when there is no other place to turn do you pray, "aren't you the Messiah? I need to you get me out of this. Save me"? Or instead do you simply pray, "Jesus, remember me"?
I don't know why, but when I read the account of Jesus on the cross in Luke 23 and reflected on the words of the two thieves crucified with him, I couldn't help but think of myself. I thought about how I approach God with the attitude, "you created the universe, you can fix this!" as though God owes me something. It convicted me to think of the second thief and his response, "don't you fear God?" (v 40) as I ask myself the same question. I thought about how Jesus instructed not to pray by rambling on and on and how simple a prayer it is to surrender what I want and just say "Jesus, remember me." (v 42)
I thought of how God is just and by his grace he saves me from all that I deserve. Yet there are times I deserve what I get. When I make my job the most important thing in my life and am later all stressed out. When I stop being giving to my family and act surprised when my children stop obeying. When I fail to ask the simple request for Jesus to remember me and wonder why life seems so hard. Then the second thief replies, "we are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man [Jesus] has done nothing wrong." (v 41)
No, Jesus did not deserve to die like he did. And he does not deserve to be treated like a cosmic vending machine, or some strip mall self-help guru. Sure, he can get me off this tree, but I need to be honest and ask myself do I want this for me, or for him?
Lord Jesus, remember me.