They say He knelt down by an olive tree. The twisted trunk, nothing smooth about it.
The doctors, they call it “hematidrosis:”
When extreme stress, severe anxiety – it causes the sweating of blood.
Dripping down from the brow yet to be pierced with a crown of sharp points.
He wasn’t alone. But He felt so. ALONE.
He went away often, to talk to His Father. Alone. But this time, He must have felt so lonely.
How many souls are lonely today?
Friends were nearby, exhausted. How could they really know what was to come. They did not.
He did. Jesus Knew.
This condition, the bleeding of the sweat glands, *Dr. Alexander Metherell says this about it:
“What this did was set up the skin to be extremely fragile so that when Jesus was flogged by the Roman soldier the next day, his skin would be very, very sensitive.
The soldier would use a whip of braided leather thongs with metal balls woven into them.
…and the whip has pieces of sharp bone as well, which would cut the flesh severely.”
So He knelt down and asked for the cup to pass.
We’ve all asked for that.
In our gardens and closets and cars and dark places. And we’ve felt so alone.
If only we knew.
If only I knew….what Jesus knows now.
That He felt – HE FELT – the abandonment of God, though God was near. He felt – HE FELT – the sin of man – my sins – MY SINS – so I would never really be alone.
Because who doesn’t know you can be in a crowded room and feel so alone.
And your prayers can become this turning of words. Wondering where He is.
Mostly though, me – I get lost in where I am. Listening well enough? Trying hard enough?
And grace is like the wind, brushing the hair from my face. I think it’s passing me by. That my prayers are not often enough, good enough. Spoken with too much of me.
I get so tired of me. The soul wasn’t made to feed on self.
I enter my closet alone, wanting Him. Really only Him. He meets me there.
When I’m regimented and weary and scraping up some kind of offering. To pray for the sick child, the kingdom come down. To learn of Him and hear from Him and have some kind of lasting hope in a world that just keeps turning.
It’s a heavy weight on your back….trying to carry the world on your shoulders. A world He already saved.
He walked those steps to Gethsemane for you. For me.
What it’s like to feel alone. Unsure. To ask where God is in the midst of it all.
“God forsaking God. Who can understand it?” -Martin Luther
So He finished it for us.
And on the other side of that dark night of His own soul, the stone rolled away. That heavy stone of sin and wonder and the feeling of abandonment. He was and is and forevermore – the King. Because He faced the demons of untruth, of sin and separation. He faced them for us.
What if there is joy and dancing on the other side of the cross you’re bearing?
What if you’re ten steps away from your Jericho wall falling flat to the ground?
What if loneliness, at it’s very depth, is a lie?
That we are never truly apart – at a distance, pieces of us breaking…but found whole in Him.
That we never really are apart from everyone, because He is near and close and hovering in the clouds hanging over us.
Even the storms can lie to us. Because clouds- they usher in His presence more than we know.
And what if prayer, more than ritual and requirement ……. is a daily breathing in and out of the truth? An oxygen tank to the breathless soul.
What if there really is no red tape with God….in a world tied up with lies and hurdles.
I find that questions are a good thing: an swung open door for the Spirit to work. Sometimes He answers directly – through His Word or a song. Other times I find Him in the seeking.
—————-> When His largeness overshadows the questions.
Even Jesus had to move on from the question to the trusting, the surrender. The falling into Yes.
From “If you’re willing” to “Thy will be done.”
When’s the last time you fell into God?
Today, in a life of days, none of them promised, it’s a miracle I’m awake and punching down my fingers. A miracle you are breathing in and out with eyes to read these words. What if we finally did fall into trust…into Him?
A song for you, for me – for all of us, today:
*Dr. Metherell was quoted from #CaseforChrist by Lee Strobel. If you have doubts about Jesus, grab a copy for your soul and know that questions are okay. God has the answers.
**Pictures are from my trip across the world to walk in the steps of Christ. I’ve prayed by that olive tree in the garden where He wept. I highly recommend it.