DayBreaks for 8/18/15: Gethsemane
Gethsemane was the most moving place I have ever been. I wept. Yet, perhaps I wasn’t weeping only for my Lord’s suffering and anguish there. I was weeping because I put him there, as did you. I also believe I was weeping because my sin was never so apparent to me as when I knelt by that stone and touched it with my hand.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote a poem simply entitled “Gethsemane”. I want to share it with you.
Down shadowy lanes, across strange streams
Bridged over by our broken dreams;
Behind the misty caps of years,
Beyond the great salt fount of tears,
The garden lies.
Strive as you may, You cannot miss it in your way.
All paths that have been, or shall be,
Pass somewhere through Gethsemane.
All those who journey, soon or late,
Must pass within the gardens gate;
Must kneel alone in darkness there,
And battle with some fierce despair.
God pity those who cannot say,
Not mine but thine, who only pray,
Let this cup pass, and cannot see
The purpose in Gethsemane.
I think there is another reason I wept I Gethsemane. You see, Gethsemane is not only on the eastern side of Jerusalem, across the valley. Gethsemane is everywhere and we will all spend dark hours there someday if we haven’t already.
It would be dishonest to say that God makes everything all right in this world. The death of 3000 innocent souls who were simply going to work on September 11, 2001, tells me the world is crowded with Gethsemanes. The death of 1000 soldiers in Iraq tells me that peace has an enormous price. The burial of 350 children in a Russian town or Iraq tells me that evil still wins in this world. Don’t get me wrong. I as much as any man have hope in the resurrection. I am simply cannot deny the picture painted by the Psalmist when he asks, Will the Lord cast off for ever? And will he be favorable no more? Is his mercy clean gone forever? Doth his promise fail forever more? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? And I said, this is my infirmity.”
First question: Who do we turn to in our Gethsemane? Answer: God, even in our despair. Second question: What do we do? Answer: Pray to cope. Pray against temptation. Pray for one another. And pray for the Kingdom to come. Third question: Where do we go from here? Ah, now there’s the kicker.
How I wish there were an easy answer, but the answer isn’t easy because life isn’t. When Jesus left Gethsemane he went to Golgotha. At times we all seem to be running from the garden of despair to the hill of suffering. Look at the stories of the bible. At some time or another there has been a Gethsemane for all God’s people. For Abraham it was when he was asked to sacrifice his only son. For Joseph it was those unjust years in jail. Paul had any number of Gethsemanes in his experience; he once listed the number of times he had been stoned, whipped, robbed and shipwrecked.
Where do we go? Where our faith ancestors went…to our Gethsemane, and there we will meet our God.
PRAYER: God, I don’t want to go to Gethsemane. It’s too painful and too dark and it frightens me. I don’t want to walk from Gethsemane to Calvary. But since Gethsemane is part of every life, I pray we will meet You there. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2015, Galen C. Dalrymple.
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