When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.
Matthew 26: 43 – 44
The Garden of Gethsemane is where we see Jesus at his most desperate and distressed. That’s frightening for us, but it’s also reassuring. Jesus was praying here for God to find any other possible way, any other possible path, so that he didn’t have to go through what was ahead. And he didn’t ask it once, he asked it three times and his prayer wasn’t answered. While he was going through this, his closest friends just fell asleep.
Lots of us live with unanswered prayers. These can be the hardest things in our lives, prayed at times when it seems like God is just not there. In grief, in agony of mind or body, in desperation, we pray not to have to walk the path before us, and we get no answer. Jesus didn’t either, but he still said ‘not my will, but yours be done, Father’. It’s OK to be afraid, it’s OK to be angry, and above all it’s OK to take it all to God, and keep taking it to God.
Prayer: Father, help me to be honest with you about my pain and my anger, about the stuff that’s wrong in my life and others’ lives. Sometimes I’m outraged that you don’t do something to intervene. Help me to trust your will even when things are hardest and I have to walk on paths I really don’t want, and help me, eventually, to understand. For your glory, not mine. Amen
Action: think about people you know who are going through a hard time now, and pray for them and with them. Try not to fall asleep.