This is more of a personal post, but can one read the passage describing Jesus going to the garden of Gethsemane to pray after his last supper with his disciples and not be moved in the slightest?
Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
(Matthew 26:36-45 ESV)
When Jesus went to pray in Gethsemane and his soul felt sorrowful, no sympathy from anyone could take it away. Pain, sorrow, and grief is a heavy burden to bear, for no person can take it away for you, however much they love you, and however close they are to your heart. The burden is a lonely one.
Jesus, divinely man, knew what was appealing as he prayed in that garden. It was appealing not to have to suffer death on a cross, being forsaken by God, and bearing the sins of all people. Nevertheless, he desired what God willed.
I have little claim to knowing the immensity of Christ’s pain, sorrow, and grief, nor his loneliness as he lay dying. For some reason, despite not paying that price, I am free to share in his victory. What am I, Lord, that You should have thought of me? And that you should be with all who are bearing lonely burdens?
Somehow, my victory is not to overcome my sorrow, grief, or pain.
My victory is to glory in the victory of Christ Jesus over death and all the powers of darkness. Help me, LORD, to know what “glory in” means as a verb there. I know it appears in Philippians, the Psalms, and 1 Chronicles*** the way that I am using it here, that is, to exult, rejoice, boast, and be proud of. How does one find the energy to exult, rejoice, boast, and be proud of anything in the exhaustion of grief and sorrow?
My father shared a timely piece of scripture with me, and some thoughts. He is indifferent towards Romans 8:28 alone, which talks about all things working for the good of those who love God. It is subject to a subjective interpretation and assumptions about what we think is good. He likes the next verse, Romans 8:29, far more, because it clearly says that the ‘good’ is to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. “The good is as simple as that,” he finished off to me, ” so … be like Jesus.”
K thx, Dad. I always knew you had high expectations of me. Asian parents…
I am indeed thankful for the assurance in this passage:
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
(Romans 8:26-30 ESV)