After He Was Strengthened.

I wonder what the angel said.

We aren’t specifically told that the angel was Gabriel, the same angel that told Mary she would give birth to the Son of God, but I like to think that it was.

I imagine the passion of a father racing across town to be with his son in the emergency room.

God, sending His angel Gabriel, to Gethsemane.

“Hey, Gabriel, 34 years ago I sent you to tell Mary that she, a virgin, would give birth to Jesus, the King of Kings. Now, I send you to earth again. Go to him, He’s in the Garden. Hurry. My Son is crying.”

I wonder what he said to Jesus. Well, we will never know for sure, because the Bible is silent about it. But we know whatever it was, it strengthened Him.

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. (Luke 22: 39-44, NIV)

Wouldn’t you think that after Jesus was strengthened, He would have quickly dried his eyes, offered a brave smile, and enthusiastically resumed His mission? But it didn’t happen that way. Before He rose from the anguish, He cried even harder. So hard, in fact, that His own sweat turned bloody. This happened after He was strengthened.

My Jesus, after receiving encouragement, prayed even more earnestly and cried harder.

Me too, Jesus. Me too.

Perhaps we’re meant to learn that the richest hope permits the deepest suffering

Perhaps we’re meant to learn that the deepest suffering releases the strongest power

Perhaps we’re meant to learn that the strongest power produces the greatest joy.

In the deepest part of my soul, I long more than anything to live in the fullness of His power alive in me, and to further His Kingdom. But for tonight, from my personal garden, with a strengthened heart, I cry out even harder to Jesus:

My God, My Jesus, bind up my wounds, erase my fears, and deliver me from disease and pain. Breathe life into my dry and tired bones. But not before you teach me how to die, Lord. Not before you teach me how to die so that I can live.

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