“And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly,
and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
Luke 22:44 (NIV)
In my many years of dealing with people in adversity, I have seen that to suffer is exhausting work. People in pain—physical or emotional—often fall asleep exhausted at night, and during their waking hours find that their energy level is very low. Such is the hard work of suffering.
The disciples of our Lord were in Gethsemane with Jesus and it was late at night. They were tired from the long day just passed. Jesus had dropped off eight of the apostles near the Garden entrance and went further in with Peter, James and John.
It is recorded in Mark 14:33-34 that Jesus began to be dreadfully troubled and distressed as He was alone with these three men. Mark 14:40 tells us that they did not know what to say to Jesus concerning His terrible agony that they witnessed. Instead of helping Jesus, they fell asleep several times.
Luke tells us in our verse that Jesus’ sorrow in prayer seemed to crush the very life blood out of His body such was His agony about His impending death. It is clear from witnessing the exhaustion of the three men and the phenomenon of Jesus’ sweat, that the business of suffering is something that saps the energy and lifeblood, as it were, from a person.
On those occasions when I have conducted the funeral of a young child I have come home terribly exhausted and wish only to escape the scene I just saw by sleeping. The mental and spiritual weight of the funeral service and ministering to the family and friends overwhelms me every time. As a helper to the main people in the drama my sorrow cannot be as heavy as theirs, so if I am exhausted, what about them?
Anyone who makes light of a person in grief has no compassion and no heart for dealing with others. I have witnessed some callous comments by the “friends” of people in pain and it is so tragic that they cannot keep their mouths shut if they do not know what to say.
If you are weary of your situation, you are in good company. Jesus was crushed under the weight of His burden and it showed to all who saw Him. You may at least take comfort in the idea that you are only being normal in feeling this way. Life’s difficult alternatives can be exceptionally heavy to bear and easily cause us to collapse under the weight of them.
Hence the biblical expression,
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
Deuteronomy 33:27 (NIV)
When life gets to be too much for the believer, the Lord Himself carries His child along. This is His promise. We need to come to Him and call upon Him to perform what He has promised.
When we pray to the Lord we move the arm of omnipotence. Exercise your family privilege today and seek the face of your Father in heaven.