Jesus and his disciples came to a place called Gethsemane. Jesus said to them, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James, and John along with him. He began to feel despair and was anxious. He said to them, “I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert.” Then he went a short distance farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if possible, he might be spared the time of suffering. He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible. Take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.”
Mark 14:32-36, Common English Bible (c) 2011
Jesus is “sad..as if dying” (CEB), “deeply grieved” (NRSV), “sad and troubled” (CEV). And so he turns to God. I am struck by the sheer honesty and gut-wrenching feelings expressed. Jesus names what is in his mind and on his heart. He does not hold back, but tells God how it is with his soul. It is not well. The future does not look promising. At this point, Jesus is fully human and definitely prefers a different cup to drink, another path to walk, an alternate route to follow.
I remember being a young, single, professional adult when neither work nor a relationship were going well. The future looked bleak, dismal and discouraging. I wanted to escape. Instead, I went for a walk. It was a rather dark evening and a cold wind was blowing. Tears streamed down my face. As I neared my home church, I screamed at God. The exact words are long forgotten, yet I know I named the deep anxiousness, uncertainty and fear pervading my life. I had my say and kept walking. There was no reassuring voice from God. Yet little by little a sense of calm enveloped me. As I approached my apartment, I saw a friend – an angel – who had come to check on me. And I knew deep within that God cared, I was loved, and it all would work out okay. Professional counseling proved extraordinarily helpful as I sorted out my next steps. More than a half a lifetime later, I can testify it all worked out.
-Teressa Clark, 2012, 2019
Lenten Reflections 2019: Following Jesus from the Mount of Olives to the Tomb ~ Day 29