[Jesus said to the disciples], "Pray that you may not enter into temptation." And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done." ... And being in agony He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow ... (Luke 22:40b-42, 44-45)
It hurts to see someone you love suffering. The disciples saw enough of Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane to pass on to us this description. Then they apparently fell asleep. It sounds strange—how could they do that?—but I've seen other people react that way. They go to sleep to shut out the suffering they cannot bear.
What a good thing it is for us that Jesus never shuts us out. No matter what kind of suffering we are having, He is there for us. He is paying attention, holding us up, getting us through it—even when we cannot sense His presence, and it feels like God doesn't care. He has promised not to leave us, and He knows all too well what it feels like to be abandoned during suffering.
In Gethsemane, Jesus did what any man does in great pain and grief. He brought His friends with Him, though they were of little use. And then He turned to God. He cried out to God, praying with His whole heart. We can do this too, knowing that the God we cry out to loves us enough to live among us as one of us, carrying our sin and suffering—dying—and then, almost past hope, rising again. He is our hope.
THE PRAYER: Lord, You know my suffering. Please help me. Amen.
* Would you rather suffer or watch others suffer? Why?
* What point in your life felt like Gethsemane to you?
* How did the Lord care for you at that time?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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