Throughout this pregnancy, I've been particularly drawn to read about how Jesus himself handled trial and suffering. What did His emotions look like? Was He stoic or emotionless? Did he stand above the emotional roller coaster that many people experience during trials? How did He relate to His Father during these trials? I know He did not sin in these times, so I am particularly curious what the range of His emotions were.
“He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. Mark 14:33-34 (Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane)
“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came into this hour. Father, glorify your name!” John 12:27-28 (Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane)
“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.” John 11:33 (Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus)
In these three accounts, it mentions that Jesus was "troubled". All three times this phrase is translated from the Greek word "tarasso". A Greek dictionary translates this word as "to disturb, disquiet in body or spirit, to make anxious". Hmmm, so our Lord was disturbed and maybe somewhat anxious? It does seem like He was in each account, especially in Gethsemane. What a wonderfully human emotion that the Creator of all things Himself experienced. I am so thankful that we have a God who is not some distant deity, who set the world in motion and then watched history unfold from afar. Instead we have a God who took on our humanity WITH US, and as a result, can empathize with us perfectly in any given trial.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.” Hebrews 4:15
It is almost blasphemous to compare what we are feeling right now to how our Lord felt in the garden the night before his betrayal and crucifixion. But Tonya and I do most certainly feel "tarasso". It isn't purely fear, because we trust in God's sovereignty. It isn't purely doubt, because we have faith in His goodness and love. And it isn't completely disturbed because we do have peace. But our hearts are heavy for what lies ahead. And so was Jesus’.
It is also important, though, to look at how he responded to his distress in the garden…
"Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." Mark 14:36
He acknowledged God’s unlimited power, knowing He can do all things, including deliver Him from that trial. He told God the desire of His own heart. But, and this is the clincher, He willfully submitted His will to that of His loving Father because He trusted that His Abba knew what was best. That pretty much sums up where we are right now –believing…asking…submitting…trusting…
We are learning even more now to let God be our "God of the present moment". Living in "tomorrow" is painful and doesn't come with the grace that "today" does. However, I am so thankful that God, Who sees the end of a thing from its beginning, is already in our tomorrow (and the next day, and the next day...). That gives us peace.
So please pray for us that we won't be consumed about how this will all end. How will we handle her death if it comes? How will the children handle it? Will the funeral honor the Lord? So many unknowns. We don't have the grace for these things because we aren't there yet. But today? Yes, we have the grace for today. With God's help, we can get up today and make it through until "tomorrow" becomes the next "today". Pray that we will live in each moment with Him.
This will almost certainly be the last email I send before Anastasha comes.
Craig and Tonya
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you with me that you may also be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27