And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. – Luke 22:44 KJV
I’m a little behind on blogging, but to still be doing it at all is progress. My mind is so distracted with other things and other people. As I was giving God my time first this morning, Luke 22:44 grasped my heart. I remembered the word agony in this verse being pointed out in a bible study once. I had read it before but for some reason I had allowed myself to forget that Jesus did not suffer (allow) His pain heroically like we like to preach and teach. It was heroic to do what He was doing, but the whole purpose of it was to suffer “as we do”… to show us He is not “above” feeling pain like we do.
We are romantic in wishing for a story of a God who could suffer like He’s just walking through the park, but then not only would it not be genuine suffering, it would be discrediting the God who says He loves us, and showed us by sending His only Son. But being away from His Son isn’t good enough. To watch His ONLY Son agonize in pain is what gets our attention. We soon feel qualified to stamp him as “actually hurting” and MAYBE He “actually cares”. But then we can still think, “But it’s not MY situation, so it’s either not enough, or just not the same.” What agony WE must put our Jesus through. What agony must we give His Father.
As I am thinking of all this, I can’t help but think of a family member who has said time and time again… “He hasn’t suffered like I do. He doesn’t know what suffering is.” He has even thrown the F word to Him, even using His own Father’s name to Him. Yet God was long suffering and allowed that family member to live through a time that he came so close to dying that we were called several times to stand and watch as his body fought so hard… whether to live or to die is hard to say now that he is well alive. He later had moments of saying he loved God and was sorry, but really never could grasp what Jesus went through for him. Part of this was because of his mental illness that did not allow him to care for ANYone above himself. Part of this was because of his upbringing teaching him to be like that, and his environment telling him he has the right to be whomever he wants (when what they were really saying was, if you change it makes us look bad so stay like you are to make us look good without having to be good).
Now… this family member is facing death again. The papers have been signed to begin his journey through the valley of the shadow of death… except I don’t think this will be a shadow. It IS the valley of death. Only God knows what is going to happen in the end… and after. While I cannot know 100% sure that he will be in heaven, I cannot know 100% that he won’t. That is what the Lord gives me as I think on this word agony. I also think of my brother who is going through so much of his own hardship. He is and will be suffering the agony of losing someone so close to him, all while he is suffering cancer himself, and will suffer surgery to attempt to remove it WHILE in the process of losing that loved one. Jesus agonized for my brother too. He agonized for each one of us.
What God so desperately wants us to remember is His Son suffered… for us… His ONLY Son. He wants us to know it was so that we would know He does love us and cares that we suffer. But whether we can grasp it or not, believe it or not, or care or not…. we need to remember! We need to remember that Jesus suffered… in agony… alone… with great drops of SWEAT… that were like drops of blood. May you remember what Jesus agonized for you. May you know that whatever you agonize over… He cares! And whether you do or not… may you never forget… Jesus agonized!