Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“And their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall not sorrow or languish any more at all.”
Today’s Study Text:
“Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and He told His disciples, ‘Sit down here while I go over yonder and pray.’ And taking with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to show grief and distress of mind and was deeply depressed. Then He said to them, ‘My soul is very sad and deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow.’”
Matthew 26: 36-38
“Furnace of Affliction” – Part 21
“A Man of Sorrows”
“One Son God hath without sin, but none without sorrow.”
Is there a severe sorrow in my life which has driven me to my knees in prayer?
How does knowing that Jesus was a “Man of sorrows” and understands my heartaches and pains make me feel when I am downcast and broken-hearted?
“How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear;
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.”
“He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness…surely He has borne our griefs (weaknesses and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains, yet we ignorantly considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God.”
It is one of the most beautiful and descriptive passages in Scripture, Isaiah 53, and the great composer, Frederic Handel, used this Scriptural passage as a basis for the words in what is known as Handel’s Messiah.
What I relate to most about this Biblical portrayal of Christ, is that the emotions which are vividly laid out for us, are those human feelings which penetrate deeply into your heart and mine, especially in times of affliction.
Jesus came to earth, not to be some heavenly robot, acting out a prearranged script which was handed to Him by His Father as He left the heavenly realm, instead, we find that in the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah, said that Jesus would be called, Immanuel – God with us – meaning God living, feeling and breathing all that you and I endure each day.
This wonderfully encompassing thought is witnessed in a most dramatic way as Jesus entered the darkened woods of the Garden of Gethsemane, with three of His closest friends.
Because of their abiding relationship, Jesus, in His own words, shared the pain and sorrow that filled His heart. With explicit words, He described the sorrow which consumed His life, going so far as to unveil the fact that a cloud of depression was blanketing His life, keeping the light of heaven blocked from view. Does this sound like the way you feel right now?
As I read the words penned by the disciple Matthew, I cannot begin to tell you the comfort I felt in my own heart, recognizing that Christ’s own emotions reflected the pain and heartache commonly found in you and me as we struggle with the daily challenges we face.
After reading Matthew 26, my own expression was similar to Richard of Chichester whose poetic outpouring conveys the gratitude of a heart, warmed with the knowledge that Christ does understand our sorrows and pains:
“Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits Thou has won for me,
for all the pains and insults Thou has borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother.”
With a soul filled with sadness and deep grief, Jesus fell to the earth in prayer. And prayer is the place where many of us have turned during those times when our cries seemed unable to penetrate a human ear, and yet, our words and our feelings, need to be shared with One who understands. These words penned by Brian Wren share the essence of the evening darkness in the Garden of Gethsemane which surrounds you and me at those times in our own lives when we cannot see our way clearly:
“When on life a darkness falls,
When the mist flows chilling,
Paths and signposts lost in doubt,
Reach us, Jesus, from Your cross,
Though we feel forsaken;
Keep us through the aching
night till new dawns awaken.”
When in my own life, I have felt the dark clouds of sorrow pressing tightly around me, and my walk through the dark woods of doubt are hindering my progress, I take courage knowing Jesus does care. But even more, He feels the pain and sorrow I feel.
This thought was perfectly expressed by the disciple Peter who wrote in I Peter 5: 7 (Amplified Bible), “Casting the whole of your care (all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all) on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” As the Psalmist David reminds us: “Cast your burden on the Lord (releasing the weight of it) and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be moved, made to slip, fall, or fail” (Psalm 55: 22) (Amplified Bible).
From these encouraging thoughts, Frank E. Graeff (1860-1919) was inspired to write:
“Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
too deeply for mirth and song;
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
and the way grows weary and long?
O yes, He cares, I know He cares!
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Saviour, He cares.”
“If one man (or woman) should suffer all the sorrows of all the saints in the world, yet they are not worth one hour’s glory in heaven.”
“This is the night of tears…
Sorrow abiding of the eventide,
Until the day break with the risen Christ,
And hearts that sorrowed shall be satisfied.”
“Grant us grace, O Father, not to pass by suffering or joy without eyes to see. Give us understanding and sympathy, and guard us…that we may enter into the joys and sufferings of others. Use us to gladden and strengthen those who are weak and suffering; that by our lives we may help others to believe and serve Thee, and shed forth Thy light which is the light of life.”
H. L. Sheppherd
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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