When the Needles on E

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         I feel drained today.  I feel almost empty.  I feel like I’m disconnected, from God, family, friends.  I feel worn out.  I am really struggling to even write this post.  Anyone else feel that way sometimes?  Alone, emotional turmoil?  Like life keeps sending these giant waves at you and you are trying to tread water and keep your head above the tide?  That’s me today.  I don’t feel this way often.  Usually I am a positive person with an upbeat mindset but sometimes you look and all you see is hurt and pain.  You see relationships struggling, people walking like zombies from some horror film just going through the motions.  Families torn apart by pain and bitterness.  Good people that you love just trying to get through the day.  A friend of mines daughter had a door fall on her, a door.  She has a spiral fracture on her left femur.  This little child is in a cast that covers both her legs.  She is immobilized for 6 weeks.  Other friends are struggling with their marriages.  Another friend is struggling with homosexuality.  Broken relationships between mother and child.  Another friend is sick and can’t teach, this is her passion.  Another is fighting with family, leftover anger from a death.  Some are drowning in debt and see the needs growing faster than the bank account.

People, real people, hurting, alone, abandoned. 

My passage today was going to be Matthew 26.  The part where Jesus goes to the garden to pray.  He prays three times to God to remove the suffering that is coming.  I wanted to bring out how we feel bad about asking God for stuff over and over and offer up Jesus as an example of how it’s ok to keep going to God with our problems.  But as I started praying today and spending time with God I saw something different.  I saw something more.  It goes deeper than that I think, a lot deeper.  There is so much pain in this passage.  There is depression, anxiety, a glimpse at the human side of Jesus.  The ability to connect with the God that became fully man, a chance to recognize our fight with our own fears, pain and worries.  Jesus allows us to see His inability in His own strength to handle the path before Him.

36-38Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, "Stay here while I go over there and pray." Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, "This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me."

39Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, "My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?"

40-41When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, "Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire."

42He then left them a second time. Again he prayed, "My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I’m ready. Do it your way."

43-44When he came back, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open. This time he let them sleep on, and went back a third time to pray, going over the same ground one last time.              Matthew 26:36-44  (The Message)

Did you feel Jesus’ pain?  Did you feel His depression?  Did you see His humanity?  He told his friends, “This sorrow is crushing the life out of me.”  Like He felt He had this boulder on top of Him that He could not carry.  It’s as if His life was so heavy it was crushing Him to death.  He goes a little further away from His friends and falls on His face.  No strength, no “Power of Positive Thinking” in His stride.  This isn’t a good day, all is not all right.  Then He prays.  Not a prayer of thanksgiving to God, He doesn’t use all the little methods we use to remember what to pray for, just an honest cry to God.  “Dad, is there any other way?  Does it really have to be this way?”  His humanity shrinks from what is to come.  He wants to pull back.  To avoid taking this path.  And then the word “But”!  Here is where His divinity takes over.  “BUT, not what I want, what you want.”  In this one sentence He is saying “I know I don’t want this, I don’t want to go through this, but I humble my human side to You.  I put my desires behind Your desires.  I subject my will to Your will.”    

He prays twice more.  The prayer is a little different the next two times.  The decision has been made.  He has decided to obey God and trust that God will see Him through.  He prays, “If there is no other way, I am ready.  Let’s do it.  Let’s do it your way.” 

People ask me for advice and wise council all the time.  People are drawn to me because they know I care about them and because they know I will give them Godly advice.  They know I will pray for them and listen without judging.   They know that God has given me this gift and I use it and share it freely.  It’s not me, it’s God through me.  Sometimes though, I have no answer for them.  I have no words of wisdom.  God doesn’t reveal to me what to say.  Sometimes there is no answer readily available for the pain and sacrifice we go through.  When the words from friends are not enough to remove the pain from our lives, or when, like Jesus, our friends fail us and fall asleep while we struggle just to stay alive, we can look at this passage.  We can feel what Jesus felt.  We can sense the desperation in His prayers and take strength from the willingness to do Gods will no matter the price.  You see, we as Christ-Followers have two sides as well, a human side and a God side.  The Holy Spirit lives in us.  It is the Holy Spirit that comforts and strengthens us.  Our humanity cries out for God to take us out of the situation, but it is the Holy Spirit of God inside of us that says, “But not what I want, what you want!” 

Sometimes the answer is not what we need, sometimes we just need to humble ourselves and say, “Yes God, if this is Your will, lets do it.” 

And while we don’t have our answer, it is enough to know that Jesus shares our pain, our struggles and our desire not to suffer even though sometimes we must.

Did you like this post? Did you hate it? Please share it with your friends and leave a comment. I would love to read your thoughts and opinions.

Questions? Don’t forget to visit the Questions??Questions?? page and let me know. I will try to answer it the best I can. No Quantum Physics or Time Travel questions please!

I’m not Einstein!

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2 Responses

  1. Thank you Shawn for this post. It lifted my spirits. I’m glad you wrote what you did it is a great reminder for me. I’ve been there this week especially with what happened to Lo and the door. Thank you for letting God use you like this, you have no idea how much you are helping people through this blog. 🙂

  2. Thanks for the kind words Aimée. It is nice to know my ramblings are helping people. I have been and will continue to pray for you and Lo. It breaks my heart to see such a beautiful little girl with so much energy stuck in a half body cast.
    All God’s Best,

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