Not alone

I am reminded, this Easter season, that we are not alone.

That may seem obvious.  Most of us are surrounded by people – loved ones, workmates, friends.

But many of us – perhaps most of us – have, at some point in life, felt like we are lost in a huge forest with no idea how we can find our way home.

That is particularly true of people who have been suffering for a while.

A friend tells me that no one can truly understand his desperation after years of being in physical pain – and now, depression.

I admit I can’t understand his pain because I have never faced something like that.

Yet Jesus knows.

There is nothing so human – and so profound – as Jesus’ wrestling in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and then dying on the cross.

Believers are familiar with the story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane in Matthew 26, Mark 14 and Luke 22.  Jesus took several disciples with him to pray on the night of his betrayal and his friends fell asleep at this critical time.

He wanted his closest friends to be with him and to support him as he struggled with the thought of his rapidly-approaching death.  He not only faced great physical suffering – he knew he would bear the mental and spiritual burden of everyone’s sin.  And he would be cut off for a moment from the Father.

No one has borne such pain.

We know that Jesus pleaded with the Father to spare him this horrible death.  But, in the end, he submitted to the will of his Father, knowing that his death would reshape history and bring him an endless sea of brothers and sisters in eternity.  Once he took this stand, he was ready to face death with great courage.

It is true that Jesus was the only one to go through this experience.  He could not ask anyone else to take his place.

Certainly, his sleepy friends could not help him – and they did not understand until after his resurrection.

But was he truly alone?

In a sense, yes.  We read in Mark 16 that Jesus cried from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”  That was the pivotal moment when the burden of sin was heaped on Jesus and the Father had to turn his face away.

But the power of God moved in him as he obeyed and carried him through to the greatest triumph in human history.

There is no closer relationship in the universe than the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  They are one.

And Christ now lives within us who believe.  We are united with Jesus.

So, even when we suffer, we are not alone.

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