Lord, Give Me the Strength
Have you ever felt as though the weight of the world was upon your shoulders? Have you ever faced something so overwhelming that you were not quite sure how you could possibly overcome it? Have you ever found yourself feeling all alone and afraid? Undoubtedly, you have. I am here to let you know, however, that Someone else has also felt that way. His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Almighty God. Notice with me a passage of Scripture which details a moment in Jesus’ life shortly before He was arrested, falsely accused, spat upon, mocked, scourged, and, ultimately, crucified. A quiet moment in a garden when He prayed to His Father for help.
“Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”” (Mark 14:32-36)
Often, you will hear it said that Jesus was praying to be delivered from the cross. This understanding, however, conflicts with other plain passages of Scripture which tell us that Jesus both knew of and was 100% committed to His mission as the Lamb of God. In John 12:27-28, He said, “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour?’ But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” After He was arrested and Peter had tried to deliver Him with the sword, He asked, “Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53) These words alone show us that the subject of Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane was not deliverance from the cross, but something else; what then?
Notice that Jesus said His soul was “exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.” Luke records that, as He was praying, “His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44) This medical phenomenon is known as Hematohidrosis. It occurs in situations of extreme physical and emotional stress and is a condition that causes blood vessels that feed the sweat glands to rupture. This causes the sweat glands to thus exude blood. Christ was not asking God to excuse Him from His mission, He was in such a state of stress and sorrow that He felt as though He might not make it to the cross! The thoughts of His disciples forsaking Him (Matthew 26:56), being accused of blasphemy (Matthew 26:65), hearing the ones He came to save chant “crucify Him” (Luke 23:21), and being suspended between heaven and earth on a cross (John 19:17-18) were causing His human mind to worry and His human flesh to break down. He needed help…and He received it.
“Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.” (Luke 22:43)
Jesus, even in His most trying moments, was always teaching. He knew that while His friends would leave Him all alone, His Father would never leave His side (cf. John 16:32). He knew that it was important to teach you and I that our flesh is weak and, thus, we need to depend on God for strength (cf. Matthew 26:41). He knew we needed to see demonstrated the love of God and the power of that love (cf. Romans 5:8)!
Do not ever let anyone tell you that your Savior was about to give up on you. Nothing could be further from the truth! No, Jesus Christ, when brought face to face with all the terrible things He knew He had to suffer (cf. Isaiah 53), prayed to God for the strength to push through; the strength to keep on going; the strength to die, not in a garden all alone, but in the proper way and at the proper time so as to fulfill all prophecy and, most importantly, to complete God’s amazing plan of salvation!
I don’t care what it is you are facing today; how heavy it is; how complicated; how scary. There is NOTHING that can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (cf. Romans 8:31-39)! With God you can and with God you will! Keep your chin up and, most importantly, pray, pray, and then pray some more (1 Thessalonians 5:17). He will give you strength.