Exhausted With Sorrow

"Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and His disciples followed Him. On reaching the place, He said to them, 'Pray that you will not fall into temptation.' He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 'Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.' An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

"When He rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 'Why are you sleeping?' He asked them. 'Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.'" -Luke 22:39-46 (NIV)

Exhausted from sorrow - what a phrase. That the disciples were exhausted from sorrow ought ot show us something about the mood in the Garden of Gethsemane that night. The book of Luke shows us Jesus' prayers, and tells us of an angel's coming to strengthen our Lord in his hour of trial. Yet even after the angel left, Jesus was in so much anguish that He literally sweat drops of blood.

Have you ever been in a situation where a friend or loved one was in anguish, and all you could do was sit and pray with them? Do you remember the exhaustion that comes from experiencing another person's sorrow? The angel that came strengthened Jesus but not His disciples. I believe the difference between the two shows us that the anguish Jesus experienced that night was too much for the human body to endure alone - after all, His disciples experienced only a portion of it with Him and yet were unable to remain awake or to pray with their Lord. Their Lord's sorrow had surrounded them and engulfed their strength, and they could not stay awake. Had they asked God to help them, perhaps they could have remained alert enough to pray, but they were exhausted, so they slept. What compassion to willingly stay with their Lord during His anguish, and yet what physical weakness to fall asleep while there!

Compassion is a wonderful gift, one which blesses both the giver and the receiver, but it can be exhausting. Friends, let's turn to God for renewed strength, passion, and anointing to show compassion to those around us. After all, our God is good and will help us to remain alert and watchful in every opportunity to encourage others.