We all have hard times- times when we feel alone, overwhelmed.
Do you ever feel weary- tired from battling against sin and your own selfishness?
Do you have moments or days, when you want to give up? When you are tired and in need of encouragement?
Do you ever wish you were more patient, a better listener, a more faithful friend-do you feel guilty and discouraged by your own shortcomings?
At those times, more than ever- we need to remember Jesus- and all that he suffered on our behalf. There is tremendous encouragement in Christ’s suffering- in His courage, His sacrifice, His unfailing Love.
I find that when I meditate on Christ’s death, and read Scriptures about what He endured- it bolsters me. I know that if Christ can endure torture and death, I can endure whatever I face today- my own sufferings seem small and insignificant when I look at Christ.
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Matthew 26:36-46 Gethsemane
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
I think of Jesus, so deeply troubled in spirit, considering what was before Him. Asking for prayer and support from his friends- and they fell asleep.
I think we can all relate to that- being deeply troubled or struggling and needing support- and yet not finding those who will be there for us- who will pray with us and walk with us through our pain.
And then (Jesus) falling to His face before God- asking for the cup to be taken away- and His perfect submission of spirit- they will be done, may your will be done.
What an example for us- of self-sacrifice- of dread and perhaps fear of what was to come- yet courage in spite of that- and a resolution to do God’s will even when He prayed for another way.
He was alone in the garden- yet, no- not alone- God was with Him.
We are never alone. In our suffering- whatever it may be- God is always faithful and present with us.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
So on this Good Friday- I pray that you will find strength and hope to carry on- remembering that we are saved and redeemed by Christ’s blood.
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.