Thursday, April 17, 2014

Keep watch and pray

Matthew 26:36-56

Sit here while I go over there and pray...My heart is full of sorrow and overwhelmed with grief, to the point of death. Stay here and watch, stay awake; be alert with Me.

When I am feeling sad and lonely, I often am overwhelmed with a sense of worthlessness. Here is Jesus, no one understanding Him, no one able to comfort Him, not one of His friends able to even to stay awake with Him. He is not worthless. He is priceless. Yet still susceptible to grief. 

Jesus fell with His face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, do not give Me this cup of suffering. But do what You want -- Your will, not what I want -- My will.”

He did not want this. The suffering was very real; agony to even God in flesh. And yet, He was willing to submit His will to God. He was crushed not only by His surrender to God's will, but also by the inability of His disciples to stand by Him. 

You men could not stay awake and watch with Me for one hour? Stay awake, keep watch, and pray for strength against temptation or not to fail the test. The spirit wants to do what is right -- it is willing, but the body or human nature, is weak.

They sleep. After the big meal and glasses of wine, the emotional turmoil of Jesus' words to them, it is all too much and they cannot keep their eyes open. After the arrest, they all run away. 

They are weak. 

Sitting around the table, in the light and laughter of shared meals, miracles remembered, basking in the refreshing teaching of their Master, they are brave men. Now in the darkness, they are scared children.

How much I am like them, Father. When I sit at my table reading my Bible, when I am at church worshipping, or at my study group surrounded by like-minded women, I am wise and strong. At 3 am alone in my room, I am afraid just as they were.  

Thank You for forgiveness, for grace. For them. For me.

Keep watch and pray. No matter what they did, You my Beloved, still had work to do. It was not yet Your time to sit and rest. Angels indeed strengthened You, but You first kept watch and prayed.

I read this and hear Your answer to me. How do I beat the sins that hound me? How do I manage the fear that haunts me? How do I find peace with the future uncertain? Here it is, Beloved.

Keep watch and pray.

And in the quiet place, at Your feet, even in the dark and lonely places, You come, my Beloved, with Your legions of angels and strengthen me. Thank You.

Surely you know I could ask My Father, and He would give Me more than twelve legions of angels. But it must happen this way to bring about what the Scriptures say... Then all of Jesus’ disciple left and deserted Him and ran away. 

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