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Mark 233 - Where Do You Go?

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

Luke 14:32-34

I knew it was coming. The appointment had been set for some time. All the paperwork was in order. I knew what to expect. I got up that morning and had a time alone with God. I was ready.

When I arrived, I was greeted by friendly people and was shown in. They calmly asked me some questions and then I sat down in this really comfortable chair. As they busily did some things behind my head, I prayed and wondered what they were up to. But no matter, I had everything under control. God was in control. I was ready.

Just before they were going to start, they asked if I was on any medications for blood pressure. I said no because I have a low normal blood pressure thanks to my parents DNA. That’s when I heard words that I’ve never heard before.

“Well, your blood pressure is so high right now that we can’t move forward to cut out your melanoma cancer.” High blood pressure? Where did that come from?

Then it hit me. All the pressure, stress, and tension were taking their toll. Yes, I had prayed. Yes, I was trusting God. But now the surgery was right in front of me, and I was scared. No matter how I tried, no matter my faith and trust in God, I was still overwhelmed with fear.

In a much greater way, Jesus experienced this too. He had seen his betrayal, arrest, torture, and crucifixion coming for some time. This was not something that he didn’t expect. And yet, he was overwhelmed with sorrow and terrified surprise.

Jesus, fully God and fully man, when faced with exactly what he knew was coming, experienced a terror that we can only go through in a very small way. The weight of this horror came crashing in on him. The grief not only weighed on top of him, but all around him. This pressure, this grief enveloped him. It was all around. It was at every turn. And it brought him to the point of death.

I can’t speak for you, but I am amazed at this on many levels.

  • As God – Jesus has experienced the kinds of pain, grief, sorrows that we have. God is not insensitive to our hurts; He knows what we know and experience in this life.

  • As a person – Jesus experienced these same things, and yet he did not sin. He didn’t blame God or lash out. He walked through this tough time while walking with God.

  • As a friend – Jesus let his closest companions watch and share in his suffering. He didn’t try to do it all on his own, but invited his nearest friends to come along to support him

Do you see the difference between my story and Jesus’ story? I try to handle it all on my own. Alone. But Jesus walked with God and some close friends. It didn’t diminish the suffering and anguish that Jesus experienced. He was able to “walk through the valley of the shadow of death[1]” and not turn towards evil.

This is exactly what we have to do when trouble, pain, and suffering come.

  • First – they are coming, so don’t retreat. There will be times in life before the pain comes, but we need to know that this will not last.

  • Second – they are painful, so don’t be surprised. It’s certainly not enjoyable, but don’t be shocked by it

  • Third – they are lonely, so don’t hide. While only you experience your hurt, you don’t have to walk through it alone.

  • Fourth – they are passing, so don’t give up. Like the dark night, there is a sunrise coming that can’t be stopped.

Allow the crushing pain of Jesus to be the greatest comfort of all. God has known something far worse than we’ill ever feel and experience in this life. That should give us strength for today and hope for tomorrow.

God is always faithful. He is always there. He is always for us. He is always beside us.

Wherever life takes you. Wherever you go. Reach out to him.

[1] Psalm 23:4


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