Wednesday, June 5, 2013


"Gethsemane".  The very name brings images of darkness, struggle, the spilling of blood, and betrayal.  Ponder for a minute why this simple garden geography has taken its place in history as sacred ground still venerated by the masses.  No temples or monuments of note were present.  Was it because of the One who walked there in the hours before His death?  He walked many places, partook of a passover meal, healed the sick - all in the hours/days before His death.  Of all the geographies visited and footsteps taken in the dust over the span of a brief number of years, what causes this grove to possess such weight in our thinking?

The power of Gethsemane is not in who visited, but in what was tested.  Faith was tested.  Will was tested.  Trust was tested.  "How could these be tested of the Son of God?  Certainly He would never lose faith in His father"  Have you ever lost faith in your Heavenly Father?  Doubted direction or consequence of obedience?  Have you ever lost trust in the One who is immutable, having placed your eyes on the imposing nature the mountains in your path?

"So it is evident that it was essential that He be made like His brethren in every respect, in order that He might become a merciful, sympathetic, and faithful High Priest in the things related to God, to make atonement and propitiation for the people’s sins.  For because He Himself, in His humanity, has suffered in being tempted, tested, and tried, He is able immediately to run to the cry of, assist, relieve those who are being tempted and tested and tried and who therefore are being exposed to suffering."
Hebrews 2:17-18  AMP

In this, we know that Jesus did not approach this garden as a super-human, demigod empowered to withstand through the sheer force of identity.  A man walked into that grove, asking close friends to wait and pray as he stepped further into the night.  In that darkness obedience was buffeted, fear descended, and the overwhelming weight of physical and emotional torment yet to be suffered crashed down.  A knowledge of hell on earth was present as every sensible option screamed "WALK AWAY - YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS!  THERE HAS TO BE ANOTHER WAY!"  A pounding heart, tears burning eyes, a body tormented to the point of blood droplets forming.  Would a loving Father truly ask His child to step into darkness?

Surrender.  "Not my will..."

Surrender.  This is the Father's desire for each of us.  Complete, total, surrender.  But what if His leading turns downward into darkness.  What if the One calling for complete trust leads us into, what to any sensible mind, could only result in pain, loss, or sacrifice.  Are we willing to trust Him with our eternal lives?  Are we willing to trust that the Omniscient One knows a far greater eternal outcome than our personal comfort or safety can secure?  Will we step into darkness when we cannot know the end or the sum total of the risks; step forward simply because it is He who asks?  Or like the would-be-disciple in Luke 9:61, do we cautiously place our commitment?  "I will follow, but...."

What is being asked may seem impossible, improbable, and unlikely to turn out well.  The storm you find yourself in may cause you to daily cling ever more tightly to Him and His word.  Friends and family may abandon as they fail to understand your path, fail to share your conviction.  There may be days were each breath is an act of faith and every step forward is born of willful determination in the valley through which you tread.  Will you surrender to His will to continue or will you opt for a less painful relationship - one born out of lines in the sand to remain uncrossed and hidden portions of your heart to remain untouched?  He loves you regardless and salvation is already achieved by faith in His Son.  But will you surrender and let Him lead you to your greatest potential and impact on a sinful and dying race?

"Not my will..."  Like Him, the key to your Gethsemane is surrender.

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