Spring is here, and it opened with the celebration of Easter a few weeks ago. It’s a time that I look forward to, filled with renewal and re-birth. As my mind focuses on the Lord and His sacrifice, my thoughts bring me to the time He spent in the Garden of Gethsemane. I remember a message from some years ago given by a visiting Elder at our branch one Wednesday evening just before Easter.
The brother spoke of Christ’s time in the Garden of Gethsemane and rehearsed all that the Lord suffered as He wrestled with what He was called to do. At one point, the brother said, “We are no different. We will all spend time in the Garden.”
I remember hearing those words, struck with the weight of what was said and what the words meant. It overwhelmed me.
With the passing of time, I’ve seen people confronted with trials that weigh so heavily on them, vexing their very souls, breaking their hearts to the point where, in agony and pain, they — we — plead to God for deliverance when it seems too much to bear. Many times, His love and mercy do deliver us.
But then there are the times that they — we — stay in the garden, when we are called to see it through, wrestling, and finally submitting our will to that of the Father.
How, then, do I endure my time in the garden?
Well, like Jesus, I’m never alone in my pain and suffering. Luke 23:43 says, “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.”
Because Jesus spent time in the garden and submitted to the cross, we have a risen Lord who walks us thru every moment of every day. He can because He did. He understands more intimately than I can ever imagine the pain and suffering humans are called to endure.
How often have I sung the words, “Never a burden that he does not carry, never a sorrow that He does not share“? It is when I’m in the garden that these words become real and I know that Jesus is always there.
On His way to Golgotha, struggling beneath the load, Jesus’ cross was given to Simon the Cyrene (Luke 23:26) and he helped Him carry it. In Exodus 17, I read how Aaron and Hur provide a place for Moses to sit and hold up his hands when he becomes tired and his own strength begins to fail. Am I, as a member of the body of Christ, ready to help in the same way? Will I step in and help carry someone’s cross?
Just as Jesus asked His disciples to go with Him to the garden, asking them to watch and pray, so must I when I see a brother or sister in need. I should keep them company, walk with them, holding up their arms when they are tired. May my heart cry in mighty prayer that they receive the strength, comfort, and hope necessary while they are in the garden.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.