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He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. Mark 14:33

Jesus knew pain. Throughout Jesus’ time on earth he was used to dealing with pain. Not his own as much as the pain of others. He identified with the pain of the parents whose son was demon possessed. He felt the pain of loneliness the lepers felt as social outcasts. He saw the embarrassed humiliation of the prostitute and the woman caught in adultery. He saw the hopelessness of the paralytic and the fear in the blank stare of the blind man.

They came from a variety of backgrounds and bore a huge amount of pain and despair. Jesus hurt right along side them and offered compassion in their darkest hour like no one else ever had. His hand of compassion and understanding lifted many a soul from the deepest darkest night so that they could see the light and hope of tomorrow.

All the pain Jesus dealt with, nothing could prepare him for that night in the garden. Son of God? Yes. Surrounded by angels ready to rescue him at any moment? Certainly. But none of that kept him from feeling extreme agony that night in the garden. He needed to be alone, but not without some companionship. He took his three very closest friends with him. He was in utter despair. Fear gripped him. This was Jesus in humanity. Alone. Scared. Full of anxiety.

When we come to those times we think no one cares. When the darkness of the night surrounds us. When we look for answers but find none, remember this time in Jesus life. He understands like none other what is ahead. He knows what it’s like to be so full of despair and anxiety that his very guts seem to be tied in knots. He knows what it’s like to seek comfort from God and not get it. He knows what it’s like to pray and feel unheard.

Jesus knows your pain. The next time the road ahead is hidden in a bank of fog, remember this night in the garden. The next time you feel completely abandoned by friends and even God, remember the agony of his loneliness when every one of his friends abandoned him. The next time you wonder if God even cares, remember the great drops of blood he sweat  as he looked into an uncertain future.

Jesus, like none other offers you the hope to carry on, the companionship I the midst of loneliness, the strength when the battle makes you to weary to want to go on. There is no night too dark, no fog too thick, no despair so deep that he can’t comfort you. He’s only a prayer away.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. I can’t imagine the pain you endured that night in the garden. The loneliness, the anxiety, the feeling of separation from God and the ones you loved must have been excruciating. Thank you for doing that all for me. Empower me with the presence of your Holy Spirit to press on. Remind me daily of your love and understanding of my turmoil. In your name I pray, Amen.

 


Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

Let the last few words of the above verse sink in. ‘Never will I leave you. NEVER will I forsake you.’

Think for a moment about what that means for you on a daily basis. There is never a time that Jesus is not within hearing range when you need to talk about the things you are troubled by. Never a time in your daily walk that he is not willing to talk with you, comfort you, celebrate with you. There is nothing you can do to make him leave. Nothing you can say he’s surprised by. He’s always there.

Jesus is with you when the doctor tells you the test results. He’s with you as you tend to a sick child. He’s sitting beside you as you write out the bills and worry about where the money will come from.

Sometimes the thought of his presence is comforting. It’s such a relief to know he’s there when the car breaks down, the relationship goes in the tank, the company reorganizes and you don’t make the cut.

Sometimes we ignore his presence. Like the times our minds linger as we watch the cute young thing walks past. The times we willingly visit that site on the internet one more time. Those times when the anger and frustration of life get the best of us and we lash out at those we love the most. The times we lay awake with the enemy named worry by our side.

There are times when the pain is too much. The anxiety to great. The news is too horrific to hear he still, small voice reminding us of his great presence and power. But our awareness of God has nothing to do with the reality of his presence. Our own desires may take us places we never thought we’d go, but they don’t take us from his presence.

When we sin for example, we may feel that we’ve separated us from God, but that’s not true. The issues of life can separate us from SENSING God’s presence, but nothing separates us from the REALITY of God’s presence.

Whatever is troubling you today, whether it is something on a world-wide scale or something close to home; don’t allow the issues of your life to make you numb to his presence. God has promised that he will NEVER leave you or forsake you, and you can take that to the bank!

PRAYER: Father God, there are so many things of late that have distracted me from sensing your presence. So many times I’ve ignored you when life gets in the way. Please forgive me for not living in the reality that you are always by my side. Empower me with your Spirit to live in such a way that your presence will continually guide my thoughts, words and actions. In your name I pray, Amen.

 

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