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.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 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.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. Matthew 26:36-40 NIV
In the above verses, Jesus asks his disciples to wait with him. This simple request sounds like something we would ask our own friends if we were facing imminent death.
But what did those nearest and dearest to Jesus do?
They fell asleep.
My revelation from this is that there will be times in life where we are forced to go it alone. Friends and family will forsake us, through no fault of their own.
Even God may be silent.
Yet, Jesus teaches us by example how to persevere as we walk in those lonely places.
First, Jesus continued to pray even as his friends slept. He didn’t rely on them to keep him encouraged or uplifted. We often forget the Son of God was still a man with friends he loved and desired when he needed them most. But his friends would not wait with him. Three times they fell asleep. Three times Peter would deny Jesus. If people who literally lived among Jesus for years could fail him, why are we surprised when people fail us as well?
The second thing Jesus did was submit himself to the Father. “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
We should ask God’s will, “on earth, as it is in heaven,” no matter how awful it looks. The very things we pray to escape are often essential to producing the best outcomes. Jesus knew he would live again in three days, but he didn’t want to face the trial that preceded his triumph. Likewise, we dread our trials even though they eventually promote us. Like Christ, we need to endure as well. If Jesus, who was sinless, suffered, we will too.
Yet, our God is rich in mercy!
Jesus left with us the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, to help us and be with us forever. And as He did for Jesus, our Father often provides a “Simon” when our load is too much to bear as well.
Our journey may be lonely, but we are never alone.
God is faithful on earth and through eternity…