Journey to the Cross - Day 36 - In the Garden
Pocket Full of Easter
Journey to The Cross 2006
Day 36 – In the Garden
The year that my oldest son died of AIDS was a difficult one for me. No one but God could help me as I entered the garden alone. I wanted my family and friends to enter with me but they didn’t seem to understand. I was angry with them until God taught me that there are times when we have to enter alone. I wanted God to heal my son on earth but finally accepted His perfect healing. I had to leave the garden and face the agony of losing David but I did it with the knowledge that my David was God’s child.
Read Matthew 26:39.
My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will. NIV
• Feel Jesus’ dread and agony as He prayed for deliverance.
• Feel His peace as He accepted the will of His father.
• Are there things in your life that you wish were different? Ask God to remove these cups from you.
• Pray for God’s will instead of yours.
• Tell God your joys, fears, and needs. Praise Him in everything.
• Pray for knowledge of God’s will for you today and the power to carry that out.
• Ask the Holy Spirit to interpret the scriptures you are about to read.
Morning Bible Study
Have you ever dreaded what you were facing? Has your soul ever been overwhelmed to the point of death? These are the time we must enter our gardens alone.
Read Matthew 26:36-38.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." NIV
• How was Jesus feeling as He entered the garden?
• How did Jesus communicate His feelings to His friends?
• Where did Jesus take His pain?
Read Jesus’ prayer in Matthew 26:39.
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." NIV
• What did He ask of God?
• What did He add to His prayer?
Have you ever been frustrated with your friends because they let you down? Read Jesus’ confrontation and His warning in Matthew 26:40-41.
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." NIV
• What were the disciples doing instead of praying?
• What was Jesus’ rebuke to them?
• What does He warn about the body?
Have you ever received a no from God, only to find yourself asking the same thing again? You’re in the best company. Read Matthew 26:42.
He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done." NIV
• How was this prayer different from the first?
Poor Jesus - He came back to find His friends asleep again. We may not like it that our loved ones let us down but at least we are warned. Just in case we didn’t get the message that we can ask God for the same thing more than once, Jesus returned to the garden a third time. Read Matthew 26:43-44.
When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. NIV
• What were Jesus’ disciples doing?
• What prayer did Jesus pray the third time?
• Was His answer from God the same?
Jesus left the garden facing the same difficulties as when he entered. Some may wonder what good His time in the garden did. Read Luke 22:43-44.
Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. NASU
• What did the angel do for Him?
• How did Jesus pray?
Jesus left the garden strengthened and prepared for the worst day of His life. How he must have rolled His eyes at His disciples as He rebuked them one more time. Read Matthew 26:45-46.
Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!" NIV
• How did Jesus rebuke the disciples?
• How did Jesus seem as He left the garden?
We learn so many lessons from Jesus’ time in the Garden of Gethsemane. We must accept that there are times in our lives when even those closest to us can’t or won’t help us. We must accept their humanness and still allow them to walk by our side. We can repeatedly take our terrors to God and still accept His will. We learn to stand up, strengthened by our time in the garden, and face our life.
My favorite hymn is In the Garden. I love it. I’ve told my husband, children, and nephews that it should be sung at my funeral. I ignored my nephew Bill when he asked, “If you’re dead, why do you care what we sing?” I’ve tried to get the singers in my family to learn it for me but they don’t seem nearly as excited about it as I am. Anytime there is a hymn request, I ask for this hymn. I have many different recordings of it and listen to it often. It is a wonderful hymn.
I love the hymn because it describes my walk with God. I get frustrated because most artists that perform it, only sing two of the three verses. It takes all three verses to understand the message.
My special time with God is early in the morning. I usually enter that holy time of my day alone. If I’m still, quiet, and listen carefully, God will talk to me and let me know what I’m supposed to do for the day. Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve never been blessed to hear the audible voice of God. I had an aunt who heard voices and we locked her up so if I heard voices, I probably wouldn’t admit it anyway. Nevertheless, I do hear God’s voice in those early morning quiet times while the dew is still on the roses.
I come to the garden alone.
While the dew is still on the roses.
And the voice I hear falling on my ear,
The son of God discloses.
As soon as my eyes open in the mornings, the rush of anticipation of my time with God washes over me. I wake with low blood sugar so I have to eat breakfast first. I rush through my breakfast, quickly make my tea, and I trot upstairs with my dog Belle to my special vibrating recliner and kneeling bench. I kneel before the rippling water of the Intracoastal Waterway and the sound of God’s voice is so sweet, it makes my heart sing. I sit in my chair, open my Bible, and read the melodious words of God.
He speaks and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me,
Within my heart is ringing.
My time alone in the garden is often hard as God reveals difficult steps ahead of me. Many times, no one can enter the garden with me because I have to go through things alone. Occasionally, my family and friends let me down by falling asleep or not believing or supporting what I hear in the garden. When the world is difficult, I long to stay in the garden but God bids me, through the voice of woe, to go out into the world and obey. When circumstances are tough I beg for the cup to be removed as I try desperately to pray with Jesus, “Not my will but yours.”
I’d stay in the garden with Him.
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go, through the voice of woe,
His voice to me is calling.
As I leave the garden, the chorus stays with me. God walks with me and He talks with me throughout my day. When I’m frightened or uncertain, He whispers that I am His. The joy I have as we walk together surpasses anything I have ever known.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
Go into the garden with God every day. Spend time alone in meditation, prayer, and Bible Study. Pray so fervently that your sweat feels like drops of blood. Allow the voice of God to make your heart sing. If you wish or need, ask God to remove your cup but always add, “Not my will but yours be done.” Listen as He whispers, “You are my own.”
In the Garden – Words and Music by Austin Miles