Being Honest About Our Feelings

For those of us who have been afraid (or are afraid) that we aren't struggling well in this life. Those of us who feel like we give into the flesh when we struggle with pain - that we cannot see a way out of this to a tomorrow that doesn't have the struggles we wish to overthrow. May you be blessed by this today. I just finished writing the below this morning. And it's speaking to me deeply.

When I have times of struggling so much with conflicted feelings brought on by pain, one of the scriptures that comforts me is actually found where Jesus is struggling himself, in the garden of Gethsemane.

Mathew 26:36-43 [asterisks mine]

Gethsemane

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 He went away * a second time * and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed * the third time, * saying the same thing.

********

The fact that Jesus begged God more than ONCE for the Cup of Suffering to be taken away has given me comfort.

If Jesus Himself begged His Father multiple times to take away His grief and suffering, why do we kick ourselves in the pants wishing we didn't have to feel compelled to ask God the same kind of thing over and over again?

Jesus knew - He KNEW - what it was like to live in a limited human body, one that was frail not only in flesh, but in spirit too. Fully God - Fully Man. So HARD to comprehend, you know?

But when it comes to the scripture in Hebrews where it says we have a sympathizing High Priest who understands our weaknesses - we really do.  We can look back to Jesus in His greatest moment of weakness, begging God over and over again to please change His mind - please change His will over Jesus life.

This brings such comfort to me. Jesus could have quoted the entire Old Testament (remember, the New Testament was being written with His story first)...

...Jesus could have quoted the *entire* Old Testament, bucking Himself up with "words of encouragement" as we ourselves are so want to do when tribulation comes upon us.

But that's NOT what He did. He just stayed honest with God about His feelings. He didn't hide his feelings and try to kill his desires by quoting scripture. He didn't use scripture to try to conjure up false feelings of hope in that moment. He knew He'd be lying to Himself if He tried.

He did the only thing He knew to do - asked His friends to help Him shoulder this incredibly heavy burden by praying and then begging, begging, begging God to change His mind - even as He ended each time - "Yet not as I will, but as You will."

And the cool thing of all, is when He told His disciples upon waking them..."The SPIRIT is willing, but the FLESH is weak." (Mathew 26:40b)

How could He know that, unless His SPIRIT and FLESH were wrestling each other - as they did in the Garden of Gethsemane right at that moment?

He knew what it was like to have his mind and his heart pitted against each other. He was facing that Himself!

He gets that right now (right now!!) that we have a tug of war with our flesh and spirit. We hate the struggle from without, and we despise the struggle from within. On top of that, we keep kicking ourselves hoping we can rouse ourselves from this state of despondency when it comes upon us.

So the only thing we can do obey His words: "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you." (Matthew 13:15) - even the example to stay honest, even if that means we'll beg God to take our own cup of suffering away, and then follow that request *immediately* with "Yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39, 42, 43)

PLEASE HEAR ME ON THIS: If we don't say "Yet not as I will, but as You will" while we're begging God, we'll spiral down into a pit of depression and bitterness that is so hard to get out of.

Praying this statement is such a sacrifice and a discipline, and Jesus fully knows even now that if HE - fully Human (and perfect HUMAN at that) struggled with this - then He is not going to hold it against imperfect humans who struggle with this too. He knows that we will struggle with it MORESO than He ever did.

To me, our obedience to Father, even with our limited knowledge and faith - this obedience is one of the "works" that Jesus talks about in this scripture:

(John 14:12) "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."

This scripture is such a hard concept to understand that on it's own, but if you look at this scripture in the light seeing it through the lens of the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus knew he also had an advantage back then. He knew what it was like to be with His Father before He ever came to earth. He saw what WE have YET to see. This is why He said to Thomas in John 20:29, "“Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

He knew what a BIG deal our obedience is - our obedience in faith to what is unseen. We have to beg a Father we have not seen with our eyes, and believe that He truly IS for us, and not just some puppet master who enjoys watching us suffer. We have to believe we have His ear, and His heart, and His love.

(2 Corinthians 4:16-18 )"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes *not on what is seen*, *but on what is unseen*, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

(I encourage you to read the entire chapter. It has helped me see my own personal suffering in a different light.)

If we imperfect humans stare at our cup of Suffering and in the end keep saying, "Not my will but Yours." that's a VERY BIG "...[you] will do even greater things than these...."
Because we have NOT SEEN our Father in heaven - we have NO clue what it looks like to see our selves perfect and whole in heaven - yet we BELIEVE that one day, one GLORIOUS day, we WILL - an eternal glory.

For us to bow to the Father in faith - without seeing that heavenly perfection that Jesus already did - was mind-blowing - even to Jesus - and He wanted to emphasize that fact to both His disciples of that day and the disciples He has now.

Limited imperfect humans saw in faith what He saw too. Limited imperfect humans now see in faith what He is seeing too. We don't have an entire library of scripture and ALL of it's meaning and prophecies crisscross in scripture figured out like Jesus did - and yet we STILL believe?

It's a greater thing.

Now isn't THAT cool?!??

2 comments:

plantedoak.com said...

holly, I LOVE that you reminded us jesus asked and asked more than once. there is such freedom in knowing our god is big enough and loving enough to take in our doubt and fear and pain. xoxo --kris

Holly said...

Kris, thank you so much for your reply. :) I hope we continue to remember this freedom because it's so easy for the enemy to try and rob it away again. May you find peace and release in this new season of 2014. :)

Blessings,

Holly

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Feel free to comment, and God bless you! ~ Holly

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