He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death…” Mark 14:34a
I was getting groceries one day when a wave of sorrow hit me. Tears stung my eyes. This period of my life was really hard and I was tired of acting like everything was okay. As I pushed my mostly empty cart, I wondered how I would finish. I tried to push through. But the sadness was too strong. I quickly put the few groceries I had back on the shelves and walked out to my car. This life was too hard and today was a day that I could not ignore it and be strong. As I drove home, despite the other errands I was supposed to run, I wept.
Life isn’t supposed to be this hard, is it?
When I arrived at my empty home, I ran inside and fell to the floor. At this point, I was not only crying, I was in a gut wrenching belly cry and yelling over and over “why me?!!” With my face buried in my hands, I scolded myself for letting me get to this point. Someone with faith doesn’t have breakdowns. Someone with faith doesn’t get sad. Because we should know that God has a plan and a purpose and trust it so much that we never let sadness overtake us. Right?
This morning, I read such a comforting Scripture. Mark 14:34 states that Jesus was overcome with great sorrow, to the point of death. Jesus, our perfect example, was sad?
I will never be able to understand how Jesus felt in this moment or the depth of what He was going through. He was about to take the weight of sin of the entire world on His shoulders, beaten and humiliated, and separated from His Father. It’s not in our capacity to understand how this felt to Him. And we will never go through anything as horrific as that.
However… He can identify with feelings that we have today. He’s felt the sorrow and grief that we at times feel. He cried out to God to deliver Him!
Notice His prayer in verse 36, “Abba Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
There are a few things we can learn from this verse.
1) Jesus addresses his Father with warm affection and confidence when He cries out “Abba Father”. There is no doubt that they have a strong relationship with these two little words. If in our moments of heartache, we have put the time into our relationship with our Father and it is strong, we can confidently cry out to Him, not with a cry of bitterness or anger, but with a cry of affection and confidence that He is near, and is listening.
2) Jesus acknowledged his Father as the one who could do anything. His faith in Him was unwavering. In our prayers, acknowledging the power of God is our way of stating that we know without a doubt He has the power to do all things and that we believe in Him.
3) Although Jesus had a strong faith, He still requested that God find another way to fulfill His plan. He asked God to deliver Him from what was about to happen. How often have we done this? I know I have many times. The spirit of this request is the key. Jesus was not complaining. His heart was not hard, bitter, or angry. He was simply grieved in His spirit and respectfully asked God to change the situation. It is not a lack of faith from which this request comes, but rather a simple request from a saddened heart.
4) Above all, Jesus wanted the will of His Father, even if it was different from his own. In closing His prayer, He acknowledged ultimate faith in God by stating that God’s will trumped anything else. Jesus knew that God had a plan to fulfill and he trusted Him completely, even if he was going to have to continue this path.
Mark 14 goes on to state that Jesus prayed the same prayer multiple times. God did not grant him his request but Jesus’ faith never waivered. He did not get angry or question God. He simply obeyed. And I will forever be grateful for His sacrifice!
Are you grieved in your spirit? Are you going through something difficult? Jesus knows how you feel. He’s felt sorrow. And pain. Unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. He sees your sorrow and He understands. In these moments, let’s learn from Him and His prayer.
It’s okay to cry out to God in moments of desperation. It’s okay to be sad and ask God to remove you from situations. I’m comforted by the fact that Jesus has been there. And He’s shown us a perfect example of how to handle it. Sorrow is not a lack of faith. We can ask anything of God with a humble spirit. Faith is trusting that God’s will is ultimately the best plan for our lives, even when we may not understand it.