I have to tell you…I wept as I wrote this…I hope, with all my heart it brings some comfort, some encouragement to you, dear friends…
As Jesus is suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prays to God, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).
And, Luke‘s gospel tells it this way: (Luke 22:41-44) He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Deep grief and longing
This stirs up such profound, deep grief and longing. The broken dreams. Those prayers cried out in agony and anguish of heart. For those who wander still in the desert, lost. Ones we love with all our hearts who have turned and walked the other way. For those who suffer pain and disease, long and unremitting. And, for those we longed to receive a healing, here and now – yet, instead received the ultimate healing. We miss them with all of our hearts. And, dear family and friends whom we have lost, suddenly and catastrophically; we mourn and, long for them.
Certain ones, walking a path leading to such heartache, and all we can do is stand back, open hands and let them go. Beloved ones, locked in habits, and cannot find their way out… oh, how we plead for them. Relationships struggling to find a new life, re-connection, wholeness. Oh, Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
The Man of Sorrows
Like Jesus, we have fallen face to the ground, wept and plead and cried out. Jesus, this Man of Sorrows and Acquainted with our Griefs. The One who knows, intimately, tenderly all our longings, all our supplications. Jesus, the One who weeps for and with us.
We see Him in the Garden. Hebrews 5: 7 says, “During the days of Jesus’ earthly life, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death…” Loud cries and tears, my friend… Our tears and our groaning, the loud cries of anguish, He hears… He, in fact our example. So, we do not have to be afraid, or ashamed of our tears.
Strengthened and in anguish
What strikes me most in Luke‘s account is that although an angel appeared from heaven to strengthen Him, the angel did not take away His anguish. “An angel appeared… to Him, strengthening Him. AND being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like great drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.”
Here is the great sustainer, the comfort in all our despair, we – given strength to face and live through the agony.
On our faces, we cry out – deliver us, answer us. Like Jesus, our agony so great we feel like we are dripping blood. With loud crying and tears – then – a hush – a terrible stillness. And then, as we are able, we whisper, “remove this cup from me, yet, not my will, but yours be done…”
With heartfelt moans of surrender, we entrust, turn over all that is on our hearts, all our longings, our desires. We leave all of it there, with Him, trusting each moment into the Loving, Sovereign Hands of our Almighty God.
We receive strength given, for this day, and the one after that… grace and mercy, new every single day. For now, and for always.
Let it be so. Lord, let it be so.