and he came out and went, as was his custom, to the mount of olives, and the disciples followed him. and when he came to the place, he said to them, “pray that you may not enter into temptation.” and he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” and there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. and being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. and when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “why are you sleeping? rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” [luke 22:39-46]
what causes you to suffer with endurance and hope – when the pain is overwhelming?
notice the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ suffering in the garden in this account from luke. his suffering is causing a lot of responses from him and his disciples.
- the suffering is so intense that Jesus is asking for a way out – “Father if you are willing…”
- the suffering is so intense that Jesus is – “in agony”.
- the suffering is so intense that Jesus’ – “sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
- the suffering is so intense that Jesus – “came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow.”
the responses of Jesus are not sinful, the are real, raw, and full of emotion which our God has and created in each of us. emotions in and of themselves are not sinful, it is how we respond to them. in the flesh, the disciples – slept because of their sorrow. in the Spirit, Jesus … had a different response.
first and foremost – see the whole prayer Jesus uttered when he was pleading for a way out of this suffering. “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
- Jesus was honest. suffering in a way that produces endurances and hope does not mean we hide or ignore our pain in front of God or others.
- Jesus took his pain to the Father. suffering in a way that produces endurances and hope does mean taking our pain to God.
- Jesus recognized his Father was worthy to suffer for. “nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
you will suffer for what you value.
the question is not – how do we willingly suffer? we have all suffered for things we valued at the time – a team, a person, a job, a hobby, exercise, and more. others may look at you as crazy if you love to run because they suffer miserably when they run. as a runner, you enjoy that little bit of bodily suffering for all sorts of reasons. however, when it comes to suffering in this life in our heart and soul – do we see all of these moments as a way to suffer for Christ and with Christ? deeper question – do we see Jesus as worthy to suffer for? if he is of ultimate value to you – you will suffer for him with endurance and hope. if he is not of ultimate value – we suffer with little endurance or hope. Jesus believed his Father was of ultimate value. he alone was the most glorious One. he alone was worthy. while suffering was overwhelming, he suffered with endurance and hope because the Father was of most value to Jesus. “nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
one final truth from this passage about suffering with endurance and hope…
“and there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. and being in agony he prayed more earnestly;”
even Jesus, as all God, needed to be strengthened by God the Father because he was also fully human. yes, an angel came. but, the angel was bringing the strength of God. we have the Spirit in us who empowers us with the very strength of God (because he is God). there are many reasons God allows us to suffer; however, it is never to prove you are worthy. it is to prove he is worthy. suffering makes us desperate for his glorious presence which give us – his power, his love, his comfort, his peace, his purpose, his hope, and on and on.
you will not suffer with endurance and hope without God’s power through his presence.
o LORD, my suffering always reveals my unworthiness. help me see it as a moment to embrace your ultimate worth. help me see it as a moment to be desperate for your presence which gives me your power. yes LORD – help me endure with hope because of Jesus’ worth and power.
in your your Ultimate and Powerful name – amen!
~ john ryan