There’s a narrow, rocky, unstable path that leads to the garden. The believer must walk the path to this familiar and, oftentimes, garden of suffering in their life’s journey; for it was a garden once visited and braved by our Savior.
Matthew 26:36-38 “Then Yeshua came to a place called Gethsemane and said to His disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be grieved and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, ‘My being is exceedingly grieved, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.’”
We will all visit this garden several times in our journey here. The garden where we agonize in prayer, we grieve, we become deeply distressed over a trial we are about to walk through. The path to this garden hasn’t been easy. It’s been laden with discouragements, failures, and riddled with growing fears. It’s been made up of several or more mini trials that have brought us here. This journey has humbled us. It’s made us realize that there are things out of our control, and we don’t like it.
medical conditions that leave us in the throes of anxiety and despair;
short or long hospital stays that yield no answers;
a loved one receiving a death sentence;
oppression and heaviness that seems too much to bear;
financial situations in which “the light at the end of the tunnel” is incomprehensible;
getting older is wreaking havoc on the mind and body;
marriages weighing hearts down with betrayal and bitterness;
children that have lost their way.
I am sure there are many more that can be added to this list, but these are the ones we have received prayer requests for in the past couple of weeks. Grieving hearts and many tears have been shed in the garden of Gethsemane. This garden takes us outside of the world we have become comfortable with and leads us down a single, deserted path, with seemingly no way out. If we find ourselves walking the path to this garden, we soon realize that that we will need help.
Messiah was the Son of God. He did countless miracles. He made the lame walk, the deaf hear, the mute talk, the sick were healed, the possessed were set free, the hungry were fed, the dead were brought to life again; and yet, He humbled Himself and asked for help. I can remember so clearly how I walked this narrow path to the garden before. I dared not believe that I can do this alone. I could barely get through a routine task. We needed those who so carefully watched over our children, our home, our needs, while we reluctantly made our way to the garden. I am so grateful for the countless that came alongside us and lifted our family up in prayers that strengthened, encouraged, and reminded us of God’s goodness and faithfulness amidst the trial we were about to face.
In the garden we pray because there is no other way that will get us close to the truth about ourselves. We cannot hide who we are in the garden. We pray prayers like our Savior, but not ones we would say aloud in front of others, “Father, please let there be another way.” But, we relent and realize, like He did, that the only way out is through. We realize, like He does, if God brings you to it, He is faithful to bring you through it. So we submit, as He did, “Father, not my will be done, but Yours.” The garden then is a place of shedding the old, dead skin that was mostly composed of self serving ways. It is the place where the new, life-giving skin has submitted to His hands. The garden is the place where the raw meets the real; the weakness of our humanity encounters the true power and strength of the Divine.
Beloved, I don’t know where this season in your life may find you. Perhaps you are headed down the narrow, rocky path to the garden. Perhaps you are in the garden shedding your skin. But, remember to share your burden that others may watch over and pray for you as you make your way to the garden that will not leave you the same. When we open ourselves up to others about our path to the garden, we are building a bridge for others to cross in their time. When I look back, I see His hand being used in every person that was put in our path because He uses willing vessels to demonstrate His love and faithfulness to us. You can rest assure that God has not abandoned you. He is with you and strengthening you every step of the way; many times through familiar and not so familiar faces.
To our beloved friends and family walking their path to the garden in this season, we love you and we are grateful to be able to come alongside you to watch and pray as you shed your skins in the garden.
You are dearly and wholly loved,