Even in my oh-so-comfortable, first-world-wonderful realm, most of the people I know are bearing one kind of grief or another every day. Some of them have bravely shared their stories with me or with someone, while others strive to maintain the mess free facade of a perfect life. I know firsthand how exhausting that can be; mask maintenance exacts a high toll. Being real is scary too, but I am finding it’s a better place from which to live my life.
The Scriptures below give us a glimpse of “real” in the life of Jesus, holding a steady course on His journey to the cross. If you haven't already done it, take a few minutes to read through these passages that tell the story of Jesus praying in Gethsemane. Notice how honest Jesus is about what he is experiencing as you read:
Matthew 26: 36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46, John 18:1-11
No dodging it, Jesus is walking knee-deep in pain, and we know it because he says it. What a relief for those of us (most of us?) living in our own valley of the shadow. Granted, what he is facing is far beyond anything I have ever faced –but still-being God, on some level he had to know the end of the story; yet here in the messy middle, he tips his hand and reveals his pain stained agony.
Jesus, in one of his favorite places, facing again the awful reality that He has chosen on my behalf.
Jesus, awash in agony and wrestling through His anguish to arrive at this statement:
“Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (John 18:11)
We have no record of a response from God,
no voice from heaven giving clear counsel or a word of encouragement.
As he knelt, alone,
among the olive trees,
Jesus heard perhaps for the first time,
and certainly not for the last,
the silence of God.
Oh Jesus, thank you for enduring the silence of God on my behalf,
for laying aside your ability to circumvent the agony,
for walking that lonely stretch of the journey.
On days when I hear nothing,
when I am deeply grieved and greatly distressed,
thank you for remembering the garden
and sitting with me
in the silence.
he never forgot what sorrow is carried by the hearts that he bought.
So when the questions dissolve into the silence of God,
the aching may remain, but the breaking does not.
The aching may remain, but the breaking does not in the holy, lonesome echo of the silence of God.