Jesus didn’t pretend to be OK before God in His darkest hour. When Jesus was awaiting his fate in the garden of Gethsemane He was so deeply grieved and sorrowful that he sweat actual blood. He knew that He had to accept what was about to come upon Him, but He sure hoped for another way. Jesus didn’t pretend, and neither will I. Every day I wish that there had been another way. Even Jesus prayed, ‘Lord if there is another way, please let this cup pass from me, but if this is Your will let it be done.’ Even Jesus didn’t fully understand the earthly lot that had been given to Him, but He chose to accept it, and I have no choice but to do the same. Although, I will not pretend that I am OK with it. Jesus was hopeful for another way; another plan – one that didn’t involve Him being beaten and crucified unto death. But, He knew that God had a plan and trusted Him enough to go through with it. However, that didn’t stop him from feeling forsaken and separated from God for a time. We see that Jesus felt this way on the cross, just moments before He breathed His last breath, when He cries out, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ To feel forsaken means to feel abandoned or deserted. Many of us have felt this very same pain. We have felt like God is nowhere to be found and that He has forsaken us. And, even when no one else can relate to us or understand that state of being, we can take comfort in knowing that Jesus can and does.
Here are some of the words Jesus uttered in the garden, as He awaited His future…
“This sorrow is crushing my life out.”
“My soul is very sad and deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow. Stay here and keep awake and keep watch with Me.”
Yes. Sorrow can feel like it is crushing the life out of us; like we are literally dying. It is a physical pain, as well as emotional. Jesus knew this to be true.
And, here are excerpts from Matthew and Luke describing His state of mind…
‘And taking with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to show grief and distress of mind and was deeply depressed.’
‘And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground…’
When everyone is expecting us to move on or to praise in this storm; to just keep saying that God is good, just remember Jesus, our Savior. He didn’t fake it before His Father. He didn’t choose to say, ‘It is well with my soul,’ before he uttered His last breath. Instead He was real with his feelings and said, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?’ God can handle our pain and our questions. God can handle us believing that He’s nowhere to be found. God can handle still being with us and staying with us in the muck, even when we don’t acknowledge Him because it is true that He will never leave us or forsake us, even when we feel like He has. God can handle our fears and our tears. And most of all, God can handle being our light, even in the darkest of hours.
‘…When I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.’ Micah 7:7b