The Weight of Grief in the Garden

When He rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, NIV)
When He finished praying, He went to His followers. He found them asleep, worn out from their grieving.  – (Luke 22:45, ERV)
When Jesus finished praying, He got up and went to His disciples and found them all asleep, for they were exhausted and overwhelmed with sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, TPT)
I am not sure why I have not ever noticed the phrasing of Luke’s account of what took place in the Garden of Gethsemane before, but why the disciples fell asleep, becomes far more relate-able somehow. The disciples had every reason to be grieving, for they had shared their final meal with Jesus, heard His last words of wisdom, sung their last hymn together, and then heard that one among them would betray Him and another would deny Him… That is some serious heaviness to hold. How often do we find ourselves in the same sort of space? There  are times that the grief is too great, and even as we try to pray, exhaustion takes over, and sleep finds a welcomed win. The disciples, though Jesus had told them what would take place, could likely not wrap their hearts and minds around it all. They were in the throes of the suffering and sorrow-filled part, and could not yet see the glorious hope that would come after the horror Jesus was about to endure. Incredibly, Jesus continued to pray. When Judas and his entourage of Sanhedrin and soldiers arrived to have Jesus arrested, Jesus continued to love as He healed the ear that an over-zealous disciple cut off in His defense. He went willingly, without argument nor needed force, for love led Him to the cross at Calgary.
I paused writing to go run, and ended up having a great discussion about the potential disparity between the four accounts of the disciples’ time in the garden. My running bestie is a nurse, so she reminded me that Luke was a doctor. Between us, we recognized that the other accounts were recorded by fishermen, who likely felt bad for falling asleep, and simply recorded that alone. Luke, however, from a physician’s standpoint, was the most likely to recognize the toll that grief and sorrow take on the body, and reported the occurrence accordingly. Like me, she had not ever noticed the difference in the accounts of what took place, but together, we discussed how it indeed made sense. Many of us find ourselves in a similar space of grief or sorrow. There is loss that we are uncertain how to process, and that weighs heavily, no matter how much we pray. Perhaps this forced slow down season is meant for more than just protecting ourselves from the further spread of a pandemic; maybe, just maybe, this is a season where we are to allow our bodies to sleep when we can fight it no longer, rest up, reflect on what truly matters, and rise up renewed and refreshed, as Jesus carried it all for us and rose again. May we give ourselves grace in our moments of sorrow, grief and exhaustion, and look to the Lord who is the One who strengthens, renews and grants us what we need to rise up restored, once again.
In grief’s heaviness,

The Weight of Grief

Sculpture by Celeste Roberge

We’re burdened and worn;
Exhausted and spent,
In sorrow, forlorn.
Our bodies in need,
Of overdue rest;
Sometimes a shut down,
When sleep is the best.
God knows all our needs,
He loves us with grace;
Refreshes, renews,
And brings brighter days.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace, even in humanity’s most exhausted spaces. Thank You that You love us back to life again, even when our weariness from loss steals our resolve to rise and fight. Forgive us for thinking that we can somehow power through things without giving room for grief. Teach us to lean into You to show us how to properly process, rest and rise again in all that You are calling us to do. Lead us to love others well, so that their burdens may be lessened and their sorrow’s shortened. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in our heaviness and seek You for rest and refreshment as You restore and renew us in You. Amen.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – Psalm 119:28

Continue reading

Where Greatness is Found

They began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. – (Luke 22:24, NLT)

Later, the apostles began to argue about which one of them was the most important. – (Luke 22:24, ERV)

The disciples bickered over which one of them would be considered the greatest in the kingdom. – (Luke 22:24, TPT)

 

Even after spending nearly every day with Jesus for the previous three years, the disciples still argued and postured for position. What this shows me is that even those who walk closely with the Lord, are subject to the frailty of the human condition. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God, and we all desperately need a Savior to lead a life of love, according to His good and perfect will. A bit further in the same chapter, Jesus let the disciples know that to be great, is to serve rather than to be served. He reminded them to follow the example that He had set before them all along. As always, the main message can be simplified to loving God and loving people. If we do both of these things, we will not worry about being greater, because we will prefer one another in love. Love lifts up, it does not tear down nor posture for position. May we ever seek the Lord and His ways, so that we can love Him and others for all of our days.

 

Let’s fix not our eyes, Enter With Thanksgiving

On how to be great;

But instead choose serve,

Lift up, elevate.

Choose prefer others,

Let love lead the way;

For this is God’s plan,

To share well His grace.

Never be worried,

About being great;

For God looks at you,

And He celebrates.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us not because of what we do, but because we are Your created. Thank You that You meet us where we are, and love us anyway. Forgive us for our foolishness that argues or seeks position rather than Your affirmation. Teach us to trust You more, so that the only approval that concerns us is Yours. Show us how to love those around us in a way that prefers others first and meets needs wherever they may be. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to love You and love people as You call us to do. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Conferred by Christ

You are those who have stood by Me in My trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on Me, so that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. – (Luke 22:28-30, NIV)

 

You men have stayed with Me through many struggles. So I give you authority to rule with Me in the kingdom the Father has given Me. You will eat and drink at My table in that kingdom. You will sit on thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. – (Luke 22:28-30, ERV)

 

Jesus offered these words to His disciples at the last supper on the night He was betrayed. Though they had just been arguing about who among them was the greatest, Jesus pointed them to the proper perspective on personal position, and then proceeded to acknowledge all of them as His faithful friends who would be seated at His table in Heaven. Our charge is to serve, rather than concern ourselves with attaining a place of power. Whatever our position, we are called to serve and honor Christ. If we seek to serve, rather than be served, our heavenly rewards far outweigh any earthly acquisitions we might hope for. To know that we will be in Christ’s presence forever, is reason enough to seek Him all the more. May we be faithful to stand firm, and rest assured in the reward that is yet to come in Christ.

 

When we seek the Lord,External Appearance

His power resides;

He dwells within us,

so near, He abides.

Christ’s great faithfulness,

and goodness alone;

ought to compel us,

make our heart His home.

With hearts set to serve,

may we go in peace;

to honor our King,

His glory, release.

When our days are done,

and we stand alone;

may we hear, “Well done,

come child, you are home.”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, we find You, and You love us to life. Thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to love and serve, as You want us to do. Forgive us for being more concerned about our position or acquisitions than about people. Teach us to prioritize as You do. Let Your love lead us to serve others, so that they too, might come to know the truth. May many find their way to a lasting relationship with You. Be exalted O God, as we seek to serve as You call and equip us to do. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

Equipping the Chosen

Human frailty,

image by Crystal @ The Yellow Space

image by Crystal @ The Yellow Space

clearly evident.

Among disciples,

was scorn and contempt.

The greed of Judas,

poor Thomas’ doubt;

Peter’s denials,

arguments for clout.

The final supper,

over broken bread;

fickle promises,

foolish words were said.

Yet the Savior still,

made the painful choice.

For us, bore the cross,

gave hope to rejoice.

By Him all our sin,

is cancelled, erased.

Repentant we come,

we’re washed by His grace.

For those eleven,

repentantly came.

Forgiven, equipped –

to move in His Name.

For each one of us,

the power is the same.

If we call on Him,

and go in His Name.

(Responding to Luke 22 and Exodus 3-5)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You take broken and flawed folks who are submitted to You, and use us as You see fit.  Thank You that throughout Your word, You show us that You do not call the equipped, but rather, You equip the called.  Thank You Jesus!!!!  Forgive us for our doubts, and help us to remember that any good we do, is done through You.  May each of us be equipped to move mightily in Your Name, in whatever direction You are calling.  Use us as Your instruments to bring the sweet sound of salvation to those who are seeking.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present