Saturday, July 23, 2011

Gethsemane Times

Today's passage:  John 18
     I do not feel capable enough to comment on the next few passages of Scripture.  Do the chapters affect me?  Yes.  Do I take anything from them?  Yes.  Do I see anything new?  Sure.  But I feel ill equipped to explain Christ's suffering, because I have never suffered.  Nobody has suffered as Christ has, but I feel there are people close to me who have a much better idea of what testing is.  I am surrounded by people going through difficulties. It seems almost callous to sit at a computer screen some days talking about trusting in God, and allowing Him to work through me.  Sometimes it sounds so generic and fake. I don't feel that way when I'm writing it, but then I look at people who are living their faith in a tangible way, and think to myself, "What do I know?" The faith that is tangible is a cousin's family who day in and day out tend to their comatose son and his various medical emergencies.  The tangible trials are the ones of my in-laws coping with the daily struggle of her adjusting to life in a wheelchair because bone cancer has taken her ability to walk.  I'm not sure why I am going down these avenues today.  I just have been thinking recently that I can read God's Word, I can get joy from sharing it, I can feel like God has shown me something to apply in my life, but I look at people around me who understand far better than I do.  I would venture that there are people who could understand Christ's turmoil better than I can.  I am sure that persecuted Christians around the world are in their own Gethsemane right now.  These people understand that they may be facing death head-on soon.  They could empathize with Christ's arrest, trial and subsequent persecution.  I can't.
Jesus Prays in the Garden--Taken from Standard Bible Story Readers, Book Six
By Lillie A. Faris, Illustrated by O.A. Stemler and Bess Bruce Cleaveland
The Standard Publishing Company, 1929
     The more I see trials in the lives of people around me, the more I realize I don't know anything.  I've said before that I really only want to sympathize with others, I don't really want that empathy.  But then again, will I ever really understand God's work without those testings?  If you are going through some Gethsemane times in your life, I'm sure you are thinking, "Here, sister, you can certainly have mine."  I am not saying I would gladly take them, because I wouldn't.  I am just saying, you, who are going through these rough patches, are closer to God for them.  Easy for me to say, right?  Yes, easy, and hard.  Easy because I can sit here, knowing that so far, my life has been peaceful and easy.  Hard, because I don't know what to say to those of you who are having difficulties.  I can say the trite thing, "Trust God".  I can quote numerous passages of Scripture about how God can comfort you in your troubles.  I don't even know if anyone reading this today is having troubles.  I know this, someday you might be.  And so will I.  Maybe I'm writing this for posterity's sake, for when I am further down the road in my life and I look at the hurdles ahead.  When I think I can't make it over the hurdle, I can look back at the time in my life when there were none, and see how God has brought me along.  I'm obviously in a very reflective mood today, and really don't feel like I've shared much.  Yet, I feel better just getting it out there, regardless of who reads this.  Jesus went to His Gethsemane to gather strength from His Father, maybe God is just preparing me for mine.

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