If I had been with the disciples in Gethsemane the night before Jesus was crucified, and been aware he would die the next day, I would have struggled with some big time doubts. After all, if just the thought of the crucifixion caused Jesus to sweat drops of blood and cry out in agony, what would the actual event do to him? But that’s the difference between Jesus and the rest of us. For Jesus, the battle occurred in the garden. It was there he experienced the depths of agony.
Once Jesus climbed to his feet and left the garden, he never looked back. He endured betrayal, rejection, beatings, humiliation, and injustice–all before the hours spent hanging on the cross. At the place of execution, nails were driven into his wrists and feet and he was suspended between the gray Judean sky and the blood-soaked earth. So galvanized was his faith that throughout the entire ordeal he continually trusted in his Father and expressed compassion and concern for those around him.
I’m convinced the key to such confidence rests in Gethsemane. You and I might pray when we face a crisis–but do we walk away from that prayer with a supernatural confidence? I hope so. Are we then able to lead the charge with equal courage? I hope so. But to be honest, I’m not batting a thousand on that one. Sometimes I get so consumed with trying to solve a problem, I haven’t got time to pray–or I don’t take time to pray. While such planning is crucial, when it crowds out my time with God, I have, according to the trite adage, “put the cart before the horse.”
My priorities are disoriented in the face of a crisis because they are disordered before the crisis. The place to face my fears is with God. If I make spending time with him a daily habit, then I’ll discover he can be trusted because he helps me overcome my daily doubts and fears. If I can trust him with my routine struggles, then I’ll be able to confidently approach him in faith when a big crisis hits.
Like Jesus . . . I need to fight the battle in prayer, before the first shot is fired.