All of us face crisis situations. None of us is immune from these terrible times. What makes matters worse is that we rarely see them coming. They hit us when our backs are turned and, no matter how strong we think we are, we still struggle at least a little to get through it all. Jesus can “sympathize with our weaknesses” because He “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (He 4:15). One point of help we can tap into is what Jesus did as He faced His greatest crisis in the garden of Gethsemane…
- Preparation and foresight. “And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed” (Mt 26:37). Have open eyes to times weakness, temptation, discouragement, and sorrow – and know they are times of vulnerability. Don’t isolate but spend time with spiritually minded people.
- Admit the crisis. “Then He said to them, ‘My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me’” (Mt 26:38). It is not wrong or weakness to admit struggles, temptations, and discouragement. It makes prayers transparent and impactful, and it creates opportunities for others to help.
- Consider alternatives. “Oh My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me” (Mt 26:39). Tell God what you want, even if it is different from what is happening in life. Make certain that desires are not simply self-centered or self-serving, always taking the will of God and the needs of others into consideration.
- Give God complete control. “…nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will” (Mt 26:42). It is difficult to truly pray this way because implicit in this is that whatever God wants (even it is a “no” answer to our prayer) is what we really want (even if we don’t understand why God allows what He allows). This isn’t easy! We are often full of “why” questions for which there are usually no answers. This attitude shows trust in God at all times – even in crises.
- Power to act. “…He rose up from prayer…” (Lk 22:45). If we fully trust God, we can rise up from prayer knowing that He is in control and that we can handle whatever comes our way. This is what helped Jesus prepare for and get through the crisis of the cross. This doesn’t mean that the crises go away or are easy – but it means that, with God’s help, it is possible to get through the crises of today, tomorrow, the next day, and…