It feels like it’s just too much to ask. We each have a limit, our own limit. What God asks of us feels too hard. Not that He actually asks—because who would ever agree to failure or illness or an impossible spouse? Who would say “yes” to a hurt that won’t go away; a heavy burden to carry the rest of your life? Maybe it’s the thought of living life alone that’s too much. Or in danger. Or with an empty place at your family’s dinner table. He didn’t ask you if He could write this into your story but He asks you to trust Him now that it is.
That’s Jesus in the Garden. If you wonder if Jesus ever felt His back against a wall, look no further than among the trees of Gethsemane. There He is on the ground, His face in the dirt, His fist full of gravel and grass, His mind breaking at the thought of what’s next for Him. Here is Jesus in the most honest moment of His humanity.
“Father, is there another way?” Could the Father’s sovereignty give Him another option? He didn’t pray ‘save Me from this hour.’ To escape now would be to run from why He came. But this plan, this way, in that moment, seemed too much.
More than physical agony, Jesus likely feared the spiritual. What if in the next hours He disqualified Himself as Savior and in the end all that happened was His own death? No salvation for us; no resurrection for Him. Just death.
Could there be another way? The answer: “No.” It was clear.
“But I will help you.” It was compassionate.
Jesus kept praying, but it changed to “I want what You want.” His submission became the tipping point.
God then sent an angel to strengthen Jesus for this battle to the death. Like He had done in the wilderness after Satan’s testing, the Father did again for Jesus in the garden, perhaps again interrupting Satan’s taunting. We’ll never know how deep the waters Jesus crossed nor how dark the night He passed through. Or how gruesome the crime He endured in the morning. All we know is God helped Jesus in the hour He needed it.
Don’t you know He’ll do the same for you? The answer to your cry to get you out of this crucible may be “no.” But then He promises, “but I will help you.” The condition for His rescue is your willingness to say to God—“I want what You want for me.”
In every test, a bigger issue is at stake. Will we roll onto Him what is too heavy for us? For Jesus in Gethsemane, it took humble faith to say “yes” to His Father’s choice, even to death on a cross. But because Jesus honored God, God answered Him. And His unwavering obedience kept Jesus from being swallowed by death, explains Hebrews 5:7.
By the time Jesus was done praying, He had confirmation of His mission’s success. How do we know? Hebrews 12:2 tells us, “For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross.”
If you will say, “yes” to God in the crucible you face today, He will help you. And somewhere in the process, you’ll find Him to be the greatest joy.