“The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus” (Matthew 14:12).

The martyrdom having been committed, John’s disciples came with heavy feet, with heavy hearts, with tearful eyes, with great groaning, and with wonder. They carried away John’s body and took it up tenderly, a body that had never known the meaning of luxury, self-care, indulgence. It was a body held in severest discipline, a gospel in itself of abstention, discipline, and inexorable control. Then they buried that precious burden and told Jesus the grim news. He was always hearing calamitous news.

To tell our grief is something. To put our distress into words is to get relief. We can tell the Savior everything; we keep back no syllable of the tale. You would be lighter of heart if you would tell the Savior everything that is giving you distress. Tell Him about your difficulty at home, your trouble with your child, your perplexity in business, the distresses for which there are no words. Let there be no lack of confidence between you and your Lord. It is not enough that He knows by His omniscience. He asks us to tell Him as if He knew nothing. Herein is the mystery and satisfaction of prayer. Though the Lord knows everything we are going to say, He entreats us to say it, knowing that in the prayer itself is often hidden the contentment of its own answer. The bitterer our tale, the sweeter His reply; the more agony there is in our prayer, the greater grace will be in His answer.

Adapted from In His Presence