Agony in the Garden
Lent, Passion, Scripture, Suffering

In the Garden with Jesus


The only thing worse than the actual struggle of going through a difficult time is feeling completely isolated in the struggle. Unless, of course, you like to also compare your struggling with others (who certainly have it worse than you) and minimize your own pain because it always helps to pile guilt onto the sense of isolation to reduce that suffering.

This is what is happening in Covid-19.

It honestly doesn’t matter how bad you do or don’t have it. We are all suffering right now. We are all grieving for normalcy.

So let’s just stop right there. Nowhere in Scripture does the God of Life and Redeemer of the World minimize or compare suffering. Instead, Scripture presents us with invitations and affirmations, especially in the Passion and Death of Christ.

Focus, for a moment, on the image of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Jesus knew what was happening, and he knew it was about to get a lot worse before it got better.

Let the very fact that “knowledge” caused Jesus grief affirm you; this is hard.

Jesus prays and asks his closest friends to pray, telling them: “I am deeply grieved,” and “The sorrow in my heart is so great that it almost crushes me” (Mt 26:38 NRSV and GNT).

Jesus models speaking truth to your closest friends… 

…gives permission to speak the truth of your heart to God… 

Jesus prays, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me…” (Lk 22:42).

…petitions God for the deepest longings of the heart…

…asks clearly and directly…

Jesus concludes,  “…yet, not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42).

…invites trust in God…

…models surrendering to God.

In our agony, in our suffering, in our frustrations, in our confusion, God sees us. God is with us. Angels are ministering to us. And God will redeem this.

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Julie Dienno-Demarest Visit Website
Spiritual Director, Author, Educator
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