It has never been easier to complain about the troubles of this life. Never have we had more avenues for releasing our grief about our latest trial. Every time I open social media, a news website or even listen to dinner conversations, I hear dark perspectives on the present, the future or overall dissatisfaction.
But what is this all about? We were never meant to bear the weight of the world. When we complain about the present or express our dread for the future, where is our focus. In the passage I read today, I see true sorrow and true despair. What was that about?
“Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little 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.” Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look — the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”
Matthew 26:36-46 NLT
Christ faced true desolation as He looked towards the cross. It wasn’t about the suffering of the crucifixion, but what He would face after physical death. We may sometimes feel like we bear the weight of the world on our shoulders, Christ actually did.
For all of us, He bore the weight of the cup of judgement for sin. He bore the greatest punishment, the distance that sin creates in the relationship with the Father. No one in human form before or since experienced such a deep understanding of what this would mean. We try to grasp the impact of our sin and conceptualize the meaning of it’s impact on our relationship with the Father, but Christ knew what it meant. He knew and He grieved with that full knowledge.
So, when faced with a true “grievance”, what did Christ model?
- He asked His friends for prayer
- He went to the Father
- He asked the Father to take it away
- He submitted to the will of the Father, whatever that may be.
I believe we should be willing to do the same. Not only it is a good pattern, when faced with a true trouble, but also it can act as a filter for our complaining. Is our trial truly trying or is it a mere inconvenience, a light momentary affliction worthy only of releasing to the Lord before moving on, letting go. If something is not worthy of bringing to the Father, then it is probably not worthy of our Facebook feed or our dinner conversation.