Jesus was fierce.
He was the type of man who could confront a person teeming with demons head on without flinching. While your average person would have squirmed uncomfortably or made a skillful exit, Jesus talked to that person and found a way to help him.
He was the type of man who could sleep through a thunderstorm in a sinking boat in the middle of the lake. The disciples were terrified as they tried their best to rectify the situation. Jesus simply talked to the angry wind and waves. Then, chided His disciples for being afraid.
He reached out and touched people with highly contagious diseases. Others would have avoided contact or at least put on gloves. Jesus reached out and touched. Jesus healed.
He stood up to religious leaders who had the power to kill him. He even got between them and one of their greatest money making schemes when He tore through the temple like a hurricane. He turned over tables and chased the greedy salesmen out of his father’s house with holy fervor. It’s not surprising that they plotted His death after that. You know how people get when you get between them and their money.
A great writer sums it up well, “[Jesus] was never elated by applause, nor dejected by censure or disappointment. Amid the greatest opposition and the most cruel treatment, He was still of good courage.”
Yet, despite the ferocious confidence that Jesus had from being completely surrendered to God there was one thing that made Him anxious. Something, that terrified him. Facing the second death –eternal separation for from His father.
It’s pretty evident that Jesus’ motto was very similar to the gospel song
Anywhere with [My Father] I can safely go,
Anywhere He leads me in this world below.
Anywhere without Him, dearest joys would fade;
Anywhere with [My Father] I am not afraid.
This should teach us something. If Jesus could face the most terrifying situations like that, we can too. Yes, we tend to get anxious about more trivial things; yet, we can learn a little about how to conquer those fears using the same principles that Jesus used the one time that He was anxious.
The time is when He was in Gethsemane. Here Jesus was dipping his toes in the deep, dark waters of eternal death unsure if He would ever resurface if He stepped in. His strength was failing him. His companions had to steady him as He walked into the Garden to pray. His anguish was so great that blood leaked through his skin and dripped down his face. He wavered between wanting His closest friends to be near Him and wanting to hide His terrifying struggle from their terrified eyes.
1. He Kept It Real
The task before Jesus was scary. And He didn’t want to go forward. He wanted to stop right there and go back. And He told God so.
“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.”
Matthew 26:39, New Living Translation
In other words, “I don’t want to do this. Can you tell me I don’t have to?”
But there was no way around it. This was the only way to save humanity.
Similarly, we should be honest with God. Let Him know when you don’t want to do something. Once you get that out of the way you can move forward, but start there. Maybe you like the sin or you don’t want to surrender that relationship or you think your plan is better than God’s direction. Well, let him know.
2. He Kept Surrendering
Jesus’ ultimate desire was for God’s will to be done. He kept struggling and wrestling until he truly accepted God’s plan for his life. He didn’t have to surrender one time nor two times, but three.
“My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” Matthew 26:42, New Living Translation
We often think that it is sufficient to surrender our desires to God once; however, those desires can be very strong. It takes much prayer and a constant surrender to turn them over to God. They may very well pop back up like stubborn weeds. So, we have to take them back to the feet of Jesus.
3. He Kept Clinging
Jesus didn’t stop clinging until He got consolation from God. The clouds didn’t part. He didn’t feel connected. There was still the deep dark gulf between Him and His father. He went through the whole ordeal by faith. He was never able to see past the dark cloud that obscured the Father’s face. Yet, God sent an angel to encourage Him and remind Him that His mission would be successful. That was enough to keep clinging.
In the same way, we should cling to God refusing to let go until He brings us some consolation. It may not be what we want or expect, but there will be some ray of light. Often, it is easier to complain or want to escape the struggle before us, but we must continue to cling asking God for the strength to carry us through.
In our anxiety, let’s be like Jesus.