Mark 14:33 Jesus took Peter, James, and John along with Him, and He began to be deeply distressed and troubled. (NIV)
Like most folks, I try not to let things distress or disturb me, but when they do, my prayers are peppered with worries and anxieties which make it difficult to focus on my problem or really ask God for help. As a pastor, I should know better, but as a human being, I suffer from the weaknesses and frailties that we all have as finite creatures. If my thoughts are scrambled because of stress, my prayers are full of moments when I feel as though I’m wrestling with God. Within my heart, I know that He truly loves me, but my mind shoots past that thought and heads out into the wide unknown where uncertainty and insecurity abide.
When I read about Christ’s daunting prayer experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, I get it and feel Jesus is a kindred spirit struggling with His humanity. It’s obvious He doesn’t want to die or experience the torment that is about to befall. He’s looking for a way out and clings to God, hoping to get some sort of reprieve. When it doesn’t come, even after pleading three times with God, Christ accepts that there is no other way to save humanity. His struggle is over and He agrees with God’s decision. He surrenders Himself to His Father’s will. His human spirit embraces His divine purpose, so the conflict is over.
Perhaps you’re going through a tough time or some unhappy circumstances. Maybe you’re stretched beyond your limits and are having troubling trying to focus. Allow God into the midst of what you’re struggling and let Him help you to solve and overcome your issue. Remember that Jesus experienced something similar and knows all of weaknesses and fears. Let Him heal you of all that harms you and help you through all that hinders you. It’s what He does best; it’s why we call Him ‘Savior.’
Point to ponder
What is hurting me right now? Am I willing to let Christ embrace me?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, be with us now in the midst of all that we are presently experiencing. Be our constant Guide and loving Savior. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. You can view the church web site at www.erinpresbyterian.org.
Today’s image is one of John’s Maundy Thursday drawings. If you would like to view a larger version, click this link: Maundy.