Everyone faces challenges, some are excruciating while others are mere frustrations or disappointments. Right now, the people of Ukraine are facing dire hardships filled with grief. Their lives are being uprooted, and they do not know what tomorrow will bring. It is scary stuff.
Whether facing a war scene, a funeral, a job loss, an unexplained health issue, or as Jesus’ disciples were being told that the unthinkable will happen to Jesus, God gives you a way to handle hardships and grief.
Not only is Jesus the remedy for whatever life throws at you, He also lived out how to handle life during tough times that bring you to your knees in despair. Jesus faced such a time when He was only 33 years old. You find His experience in Matthew 26:36-46.
Jesus understands hardship and grief.
The Son of God could have at any time reneged on His calling and told God, “Nope. These people are not worth the sacrifice needed to redeem them back from sin. Nope. Not going to do it.” But He didn’t. In this passage, you learn just how human Jesus is while remaining faithful to His Father. Because of this, you can follow Jesus and trust Him with your life.
Jesus is the only person (aside that He remained sinless for He is God) to go through what He did and come out shining bright. He is fully alive! Jesus is man’s Savior and Lord, and He is the way out of any jam or vice the world may place you in. He is Lord and you can follow bravely and humbly for He leads His people to eternal life; see John 3:16, 36, 4:14, 5:24.
Jesus needed time to pray. He was about to be put into the hands of the evil one. He separated Himself from His disciples except for James and John. He took them with Him. Notice how Jesus felt in verse 37.
“Jesus became anguished and distressed.”37 Have you felt this way before? How about today? Jesus understands your feelings, your fears, and your broken heart. Jesus tells His two friends, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.”38 The Son of God was distraught.
Having others around you is a vital part of the process in hardships and grief. You are not made to handle life on your own. Jesus tells them, “Keep watch with Me.” What do you think they were watching for? If you don’t have someone else to share your sorrows with, ask God to bring you a trusted, believing friend.
Jesus went on a bit farther and bowed with His face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from Me. Yet, I want Your will to be done, not mine.“39 Jesus did not want to do what needed to be done, but He lived by the words of His Father and obeyed accordingly. He put aside His flesh, the earthly body that you and I know all too well. He relinquished the control of His flesh and lived in such a way that God received all the glory.
May you and I live the same way. “Lord, I want Your will to be done, not mine.” God’s will > my will.
Jesus returned to His disciples. What did He find them doing, see verses 40-41? What do you learn about the flesh? Above, I asked you what they were watching for. You find the answer in verse 41. Everyone is tempted to go astray from the presence of God.
Jesus prays a second time. “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.”42 Feel His emotions here as He prays. He is being honest and real with God. You can too.
Notice how easy the human flesh runs out of gas in verse 43. This is why you need to abide moment-by-moment with Jesus daily. The Holy Spirit is the fuel for your soul. The hardships you face will take everything out of you and make you susceptible to the devil. Learn more with these verses: James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8, and Ephesians 6:11.
Jesus prays a third time. He repeated His heart’s concerns to His Father. If Jesus kept on praying in His distressed state, you and I need to too. He, again, found the disciples sleeping. Notice how He understood their weakness in verse 45.
Jesus awakened them to the root of His anguish and grief. “The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”45 You and I, and everyone born past, present and future, put Christ on the cross. He is the only remedy for hardship and grief. He is the answer to any problem you face. He is the joy you feel when good abounds. He is your source of hope.
Jesus is your only ally in this world.
Embrace Him and allow Him to take your hardships and grief and turn them into something beautiful for He is God, and He can do it.