This morning we found Elfie swinging through the lights on the windows by a candy cane. Sadly, he was too quick and I wasn’t able to get a picture. 🙂 He did however bring us a craft and a selection of scripture to read from Matthew chapter 26:
36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. 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. He began to be sad and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sad. I feel close to death. Stay here. Keep watch with me.”
39 He went a little farther. Then he fell with his face to the ground. He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. But let what you want be done, not what I want.”
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. Then you won’t fall into sin when you are tempted. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
42 Jesus went away a second time. He prayed, “My Father, is it possible for this cup to be taken away? But if I must drink it, may what you want be done.”
43 Then he came back. Again he found them sleeping. They couldn’t keep their eyes open. 44 So he left them and went away once more. For the third time he prayed the same thing.
45 Then he returned to the disciples. He said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look! The hour has come. The Son of Man is about to be handed over to sinners.
Can you imagine going to a garden with Jesus and Him telling you He feels close to death. He instructs you to keep lookout with Him. You can tell He is very troubled. And yet you fall asleep……..three times! I would hate to be those guys!
Unfortunately, I think all to often we are just like those men. God instructs us to do something, sometimes a hard thing and sometimes just little things, and we just sit there and sleep.
I love this passage because it so simply reveals the human-ness of Jesus. He doesn’t want to feel the pain that He knows is coming. He asks His father three times to please take it from Him. But He also prays that God’s will would be done. If there is any way……. I think this is such a wonderful example of how we should pray in times of suffering. I have been praying a lot lately for my grandparents. My grandfather has some medical issues and it is just heartbreaking to see it taking over their lives. I want to pray that God would just heal him and let him live out the rest of his days enjoying his wife and grandkids. He has served God with much of his life, doesn’t God owe him that? And then I realize how selfish my prayer is. Not just for me but for him as well. When I read of Jesus’s example here I find that my prayer should be, “Father if you can take the suffering away and still accomplish your plans for him please do so. If not, I pray that you would make his suffering a shining light to others, guiding them to you. I pray that his days will be filled with service to others and to You. And that You would give him his daily portion to get through each day. I pray that his mind will be focused on You and not the pain. I pray that his family will see Your amazing face through all that he does. I pray that his family that does not know You. I pray that they will come to know You through his life. And when You’re work is complete for him, I pray that You will take him home to be with You and crown him with the many crowns he deserves. I can’t wait to see him dancing the streets of heaven with You and know that he is kneeling forevermore at his Saviors precious feet.” That’s what I should pray…..and from now on that will be my prayer. I think we are all here until God’s work with us is complete. I often hear people saying, “I’m just waiting for the Lord to bring me home”. While I understand fully the longing to be united with our Heavenly Father, it just gets under my skin when I hear this. It’s just like my first prayer…..it is selfish. WE want to go to heaven. If God was done with us He would call us. So the way I see it is, I am here another day, another moment, that means I still have work to do. There is one more life I need to connect with, one more act of service I need to do, one more day of obedience to my King. If I am still here, then that is one more day I can reach someone with the love of Jesus!
Jesus didn’t want this pain. We don’t want the pain of this world. But Jesus was willing to endure for the plan of His Father to be accomplished. Our task is nothing like the one Jesus had before Him. Surely we can handle another day without falling asleep right? Surely we can stand up and keep a look out for Jesus right? How betrayed Jesus must have already felt that the ones He was closest to on earth could not, or would not, carry out a simple task for Him. Jesus, I pray I will be a better servant to you. I don’t want to sleep through my day while our enemy comes for You. I want to be close to You. I want You to know You can count on your servant Jennifer Moye. I am perfectly imperfect, but I am made in Your image. And through You I can do great great things!