Have you ever thought something like this when going through a stressful time? “If I only trusted God, depending on Christ in me to handle this, I wouldn’t feel stressed.” As a result of this thought process, we tend to beat ourselves up mentally, thinking we are failing.
Yet, the truth is that we often carry more stress than we have to because we do not rely on God. However, I want to clear something up. We can depend on Christ in us but, at times, still feel stressed. How do we know this? A close look at what transpired in the garden when Jesus prayed before his arrest, beating, and crucifixion informs us. Let’s look at what the Bible tells us about Jesus’s stress during these hours.
“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” said Jesus according to Matthew 26:38. He felt so overwhelmed with sorrow that he said he was on the verge of dying from the stress of it. Have you ever felt so overwhelmed with emotions that you wondered if you might die? Some of you understand this precisely.
John wrote in 18:4 that Jesus knew, “All that was going to happen to Him.” Jesus knew He would be lied about in the night’s judicial trials. He knew He would not defend Himself. He knew He would be flogged so much that His bones and muscles would show. He knew He would die one of the most painful and horrible deaths of that time, crucifixion. He knew He would have spikes nailed into His hands and feet, then be lifted up on a cross. He knew His lung would fill with fluid, so He could hardly get His breath. Yet, more than the physical pain, He knew that the sins of humanity from the time of creation until the end of this world would be placed on Him. He knew at this point His Father would turn His gaze from Him, and He would feel the most significant pain of all, spiritual separation from Him on our behalf.
As recorded by the physician Luke, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus suffered a phenomenon called hematidrosis. This rare medical condition caused by the stress of anguish resulted in the capillaries around the sweat glands bursting and blood exiting through them. Thus, Jesus sweated drops of blood. “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44).
Before we discuss our stress, the scene just described is very poignant, reminding us of how much our Heavenly Father loves us. This was demonstrated by sending His only Son so we can become His sons and daughters. Jesus also knew that we would be His bride, which is why Hebrews 12:3b tells us, “Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” His joy was to do His Father’s will so He could have you and me, and we would never experience separation from God!!!
While we can all grow in our reliance on our Father and Christ in us, let’s not think this means we will never feel stressed. We will. Yet, even then, we can approach our Father on His throne of grace (not judgment) and pour out our sorrows, anguish, and troubles. Or we can sit there in silence when there are no words. This is part of trusting in God, too.
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© Mark Maulding (But feel free to share this.)