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Issue No.116
26 September 2018

The garden of tears

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Tanya Marlow invites us to travel with Jesus to Gethsemane


THERE ARE TIMES WHEN LIFE FEELS TOO MUCH TO BEAR. Sometimes we have sorrow upon sorrow, and we feel crushed from the weight of the struggle. We fall to our knees, sobbing. At these points, it is tempting to feel alone. However, our God is familiar with pain and desperation. The day before Jesus' death, when he knew all that lay before him, he went to a garden and wrestled with God.

My soul is overwhelmed

Meet Jesus in that place of tears. Travel with him to the garden of Gethsemane where he struggled with knowing he would suffer. See him collapsing onto the ground, sweating blood with the agony of the thought of the future pain. Admit, as he did, "my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death" (Mark 14:34, NIVUK). We have a God who knows our deepest agony, knows it to the core.

Lord, I have come to the end of myself. The pain is too much. Lord, be with me. Jesus, be near me.

Take this cup from me

Hear the feverish murmured prayers pouring from Jesus' lips, over and over again. Take this cup from me, he pleads. Even Jesus, God's own Son, who had planned with God his incarnation and death, is desperate to escape pain and suffering. We know we can plead with God for miracles and salvation because Jesus did so, too. We have a God who can do anything. Even when the situation looks hopeless, it is right to ask for miracles, praying prayers of desperation for God to change the future.

Abba, you can do the impossible. Please take this pain away. Please rescue me. Lord, save me. Jesus, hear me.

Yet not what I will

When we face a hopeless situation, either in our lives or others', there comes a point when those desperate prayers fade. It's not that we ever desire suffering, it's not our will, just as it was not Jesus' will. But eventually, we surrender our situation into the hands of a loving God. See Jesus' courage in praying, "Yet not what I will, but what you will." Though we may not understand it, though we are still desperately sad, we tearfully entrust the future to God. Though we may never fully know it this side of heaven, there is always redemption, always a purpose. Suffering does not have the final word.

Lord, I don't understand. But I submit my life to you and place my future in your hands. Lord, redeem my suffering. Jesus, make things clear to me.

In the garden of tears, we are never alone. We look to Jesus: the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. The garden of tears 

Tanya Marlow is author of Those Who Wait: Finding God in Disappointment, Doubt and Delay (Malcolm Down Publishing)

 

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