The Season of Seeking: The Gethsemane Experience!
I’ve recently experienced many disappointments leaving me in a place of feeling alone. This type of loneliness was internal and had nothing to do with how many people I was around. It was like being in a room full of people and feeling as if no one was there. I was burdened, frustrated and tired questioning God and the direction things were going. There were a lot of sudden shifts that took place leaving me to feel as if I was a piece on a chess board and everything around me was be changed. I almost fell into that space where you don’t even want to pray, but the Holy Spirit nudged me to pray despite what I was feeling. When I cried out to God, literally cried, he took me to Matthew 26: 36-44.
36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.
When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, he, too, experienced a spiritual attack. This part of scripture describes the moments leading up to his arrest. He was feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and alone because he felt the weight of the burden he had to carry. Although he had friends, Christ knew that the task God had for him was for him to fulfill and his friends, the disciples, couldn't do it.
This past week was my Garden of Gethsemane experience. I was in a place of asking God My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. One desire God has placed in my heart is a desire for family. This past week the desire was so heavy. I’ve often asked God why he gave me such a desire, yet positioned me in such a divided family. Yes, God has blessed me with friends, but at the end of the day my friends go back to their families and I am still physically alone.
For those who are new to reading my blog, I am the only child my parents had together. My mother passed away in 1996 and my father passed away in 2014. Although, my maternal grandmother raised me and my father had kids from previous relationships, there was always a distance within my family on both sides. In the natural, many wouldn’t understand it, but the more I grew spiritually, I recognized that I was simply set apart. Now, I don’t mean this as, I stay away because I’m “so spiritually connected to God,” but more so I’ve been rejected and neglected. Many word curses have been spoken and unfortunately, not too many family members would speak what God sees in me nor would they call to check in on me. This week God really challenged me to step into my dwelling place. During this time, he said I needed to see myself the way he sees me. To some this may seem like a “Duh” statement, but I realized I’ve spent too much time trying to see others through the eyes of God and not enough time seeing myself through his eyes first. The Holy Spirt first led me to Mark 6:4.
4 And Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.’
No, I’m not labeling myself as a prophet, but here is Jesus’ response to the rejection he received when he returned to his hometown Nazareth. There are many times the ones closest too us won’t allow us to be the new creation God said we are once we allow him to come into our lives (See 2 Corinthians 5:17). This is an ongoing battle because you begin to question your value. God then took me to Psalms 139:13-16.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
This scripture reminded me that God was very intentional when he designed every one of us. He said I should never question the significance of my existence because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I was then led to Jeremiah 29:11.
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
This was one of the first verses I received when I came to Christ. Every time I read it, I’m reminded that God knows everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen, and despite what things look like, his plan is to give me hope and a future. My ability to really fulfill the call upon my life is contingent upon seeing all things through the eyes of God. I will never be ever to fully live up to all that God created me to be if I don’t see it within myself. When I caught this revelation, I could rise like Jesus and say nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will. I went into a place of complete surrender and the heaviness that consumed me immediately disappeared.
I know there are many times we have these moments of feeling alone, but rest assure God will never leave you nor forsake you (see Deuteronomy 31:6). When there is a shaking in our lives, God is calling us to fall at his feet and seek his face, so that we may be in tune with what is happening. Jesus prayed 3 times in the Garden of Gethsemane and the first time was full of anguish, so don’t allow your feelings to dictate your actions. Pray even when you feel nothing. By the third time Jesus prayed, the Holy Spirit gave him spiritual restoration and he could see himself through God’s eyes. Having a clearer perspective, Jesus surrendered himself to God’s plan. Jesus taking time out to seek the face of God is what gave him the strength to go forth and serve God, as well as, bless us. Remember seeking and knowing God allows you to see yourself through his eyes and leads you to fulfilling the call he has upon your life which teaches you how to truly love, embrace, and see others through his eyes no matter what ill things they say or do.
I’ll leave you with Paul’s prayer for spiritual strength in hopes that it will strengthen you during your own Garden of Gethsemane experience.
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.