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‘They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
The first thing is that I am not a bible thumper by no stretch of anyone’s imagination. I do, however, love God’s word and I figure out how it applies to what I’m going through. So, if you’re a theology major, this just isn’t what you think it is. I’m just seeing Jesus in my own way.
In honor of Resurrection Sunday which passed a few days ago, I wanted to write about some of the struggles Jesus had when He was here on Earth. The more I look at Jesus’ life, the more of our world I see, and the more confidence it gives me to keep going.
Wait… Jesus was human?
People always say that Jesus was “fully God and fully man”. I’m like… yea right! If He’s fully God, there’s no way that he feels the mental onslaught that I deal with day after day. My thoughts and my trauma torment me to the point of death each day, but somehow, I survive. Jesus had it easy because… of course, he’s the son of God! Until he had to die, then yes it was a little rough, I guess.
So, imagine my shock when I discovered Jesus exhibiting signs of anxiety!
I knew Jesus was human to an extent, but I would never have thought that he would see life through the same foggy lens I see life every day. He’s been there. And knowing that, when I pray, it eases my mind to know that God has been there and understands.
In Mark 14, Jesus is in the garden of Gethsemane and his betrayer is on his way. Jesus showed signs of anxiety in several ways that I fight with daily.
This is the first real sign that Jesus has anxiety. When I’m at my most anxious, I’m always praying. I have this feeling of total dread that something awful is going to happen even when it’s a routine and I find myself praying constantly to ask God for help. Jesus did the same here. He’s clearly freaking out.
Either way, Jesus gives us a great example here. When we’re in distress, call out to God. The comfort is in knowing that He’s been there and He will understand.
Reaching out to others
He attempted to get the men to stay up with Him and pray, but they were tired and had no idea how much anguish He was in. If you’re struggling with anxiety and you have friends, you know how this is. You can feel the impending dread just washing over you with every thought, wave after wave, but others around you are just oblivious to your struggles. It doesn’t matter how you try to explain it to them, they could never piece the madness together themselves. Jesus needed His disciples in this anxious moment, but they just couldn’t fathom what was happening in His head.
I wonder if they did get up and pray, if it would have given Jesus more peace or would He have continued stressing out about His impending fate? Hmmm.
Anxiety despite the outcome
Have you ever been in a situation that you knew what the end would look like, but was just terrified of the process? Maybe a job interview that you knew you were qualified for? The birth of your baby? Or something as simple as a car ride from home to work? In those situations, the outcome is predictable. I think what scares us, what scares me, is all the ways it can go. The possibilities tend to be endless. Jesus knew the result of His situation. He knew He would rise again and be with His Father, however, the process was killing Him. This proves that even when you know the result, it sometimes doesn’t give you any comfort. Jesus understood this very well.
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”
Aint this the truth, though? You find yourself wishing you could stop overthinking, but you can’t. Or wanting to pray, but you can’t. Or wanting to move from the spot you’ve been sitting in, but you can’t. You’re aware of the state you’re in, and aware of how it can be changed, but it’s a struggle. The flesh is weak. Which is why we need Jesus to intervene! He can be our strength in our moments of weakness. There’s just more to our situation than what our weakness will allow us to handle! God’s strength is always within us- we just have to reach for it.
How Jesus resolves His anxiety
Being able to control anxiety takes serious mental acrobatics and sometimes even medication. There is no easy way of getting through it, but it is possible. In this situation, Jesus begs God to take this situation away. It was clearly overwhelming Him and He really couldn’t stand it another moment. However, He released control- stating not His will but God’s will be done. And please note- Jesus didn’t release control when He was ready. He didn’t do it when the situation calmed down and He felt more comfortable letting go. Jesus let it go in the garden- in the heat of the moment- when His anxiety was at its worst. I know it’s so hard to even think of God when we’re in the midst of that storm of overthinking or stressing about something- but we will feel relief and freedom when we give our will over to God.
God’s will be done and what that means
When we surrender our will, we will know true peace. You will start to realize that when situations are happening, despite how out of control they may seem, God is in control. He is holding you together and regardless what might come, He will walk you through it. More importantly, anything and everything can be used for good. I used to argue with God over my awful mental health condition, but it gave me a testimony and it is giving me a reason to help others and fight another day. My wreck of a brain is being used for some incredible things and I’m truly grateful! However, it took a lot of releasing my will- of not doing what I wanted to do or being in control of every moment of my life- but trusting that God’s will is perfect and it will bring out the greatness in me.
I hope you found this as interesting as I did! So cool to see Jesus in a human light despite Him also being fully God. I pray you see it too and take comfort in knowing that He understands what we go through everyday and we can make it through anything if we let go and trust Him.
I’d love to chat more on this so leave me a comment and let’s talk!