Choosing Hope Over Despair

When [Jesus] got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, and he said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’   (Luke 22:45-46)

Jesus prayed all night for courage and strength.  He knew this was his “time of trial.” He knew his whole mission was hanging in the balance.  He knew that if He flinched or walked away, He would’ve failed.

I don’t believe Jesus has had many restful nights since that night.  He’s sleepless not because of His own “times of trial,” but because of ours. Because Jesus loves us our trials become His.  Jesus is awake when we’re awake in the middle of the night.  Jesus is awake even when we aren’t.

What are the trials, tribulations, and traumas we face that keep Jesus up? He’s praying we would choose hope over despair, forgiveness over getting even.  He’s praying we would resist our temptations and remain true to our commitments.

He’s praying we will rest in Him when we’re tired, lean into Him when we’re lonely, trust in His guidance when we’re confused, draw upon His strength when we’re weak.

One of the ways I can begin to understand both the love and the worry God has for us is to remember when the nurses put my baby girl into my arms 30 years ago.  As I looked at her, I knew there would never be a day when I wouldn’t worry about her.

What’s true for us, is even more true for God.  Because God loves us, He worries about and for us.  In fact, God has been worrying about us ever since Adam and Eve went East of Eden.

The next time your trials are keeping you up, I encourage you to trust that Jesus is up with you.  You aren’t facing the trials of that night, or any night, by yourself.  You might also, even before you are totally exhausted, consider putting those trials into His hands.  Jesus will continue to pray while you sleep.

Reflection Questions:

  1. What are the worries, anxieties, or trials that keep you awake at night? What would it take to entrust them to Jesus so that you could go to sleep?
  1. If I brood and stew alone during the night, my thoughts can get pretty dark. But if I remember that Jesus is with me, the darkness usually begins to lighten. Do you have any practices that help you to turn your worries over to Jesus?  If not, is it time to develop some?
  1. New parents often look in on their sleeping babies. What would happen to your own challenges, whether sleeping or waking, if you realized and accepted that Jesus does the same with you?


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