Thursday, April 17, 2014

Just one hour?

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.’ He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.’

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.’

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?’ he asked Peter. ‘Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’

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.’

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

Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners.

Matthew 26:36-45 (NIV)

As a 21st century Christian, it’s easy to get rather smug, and with the benefit of 2000 years of hindsight to think that we'd have done better than the disciples.  We’d “get it” at all the places the disciples missed the point, and we’d sure be able to stay awake with Jesus on this night of all nights. 

But if I’m really honest with myself, I’m no better than Peter and the others.  I miss the point of what God’s doing in my life all the time, and it’s usually only with hindsight I can see His hand in things.  And staying awake?? I’d be in deep slumber with the rest of them.

I’ll admit it, I'm tired. 

It's been a busy term and I'm just running out of oomph. 

Imagine you're out in the bush and it's a bit cold and wet (like this autumn weather has been the last few weeks) and you start shivering.  That's okay because it's your body keeping itself warm, but it also consumes energy, and when that energy runs out you stop shivering, and now you're in serious danger.  Don't mind me, you just carry on without me.  I'll be fine, I'll just have a little rest under this tree. Anyone who knows survival would be stopping right there, organising a shelter, getting you out of your wet clothes and into a  sleeping bag with a warm chocolaty drink (if you're still capable of holding the cup), and getting help.

Image Source

All the strategies I’ve learned for looking after myself have been just enough to keep me coping, just like the shivering.  But they’re taking up energy, and I’m getting tired.  And it’s not even winter yet.

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

This Easter, I’m taking the time to rest, really rest.  (And indulge in a little bit of nice rich dark chocolate…).


  1. I know that feeling - I can recognise I am burnt out and stressed and my ability to care has shrivelled - I have stopped shivering. Good example!
    Yesterday a random stranger spoke to me at the work copy machine. It wasn't printing... it was nearly the final straw for her and she said - is it just me? I cant handle the workload, the hours drive to work through gridlock- the rain - the need to shop, cook, clean and cope. Its all so hard at the moment.
    I assured her she was not alone - she was nice - I hope I see her again. I connected briefly with someone I had never seen before and felt a little better. We are not alone in this - admitting we are feeling this to each other might be the way we survive without moving away, quitting jobs, resorting to drugs or suicide. Relationships might be better.

    I hate feeling like this. I hate the feeling that I want to hibernate and lick my wounds and cry. It is so not my usual self. But I can also accept that life has been tough for a while for many reasons and that the positives there are will get me though - and the sun will come out again. Rest and chocolate... take care xxxxx

    1. Sun? What's that?
      The message of Easter is about hope, you're right about that. Thanks for sharing, it does make a difference in not the only one feeling like this.