A Good Friday devotional. A brief reminder of the grief in Gethsemane that our Savior experienced as He laid down His comfort, to pick up our cross.
The other night I was standing in my kitchen finishing up the dishes from dinner. I was tired from the long day and ready to fall into bed for the night.
Suddenly I was gripped with fear.
A fear I had been running from, though I didn’t fully realize it until that moment:
“There is a baby in me and it has to come out.”
Tears poured down my cheeks and the breath seemed to catch in my lungs. I began praying and begging God to help me get through what I know is coming in the days ahead.
“There is no way out but straight through. And I will go through- because I have to. Give me the strength to walk through this again because I know he is worth it.”
Instantly these words hit me, gripping my heart: Grief in Gethsemane.
Gardens of Grief
It all started in the garden.
The dwelling place of God with His children. A perfect place blooming in peace and harmony. A paradise for God’s most precious creation. In the cool of the day, God met with His children there.
Before Abraham would tread the rocky pastures of Jerusalem, before David would stare down Goliath, before Paul would fall blind on the road to Damascus- grief came into the garden.
Punishments were dealt, the garden sealed off, and a promise made.
A promise that here- right in the middle of another garden– was being fulfilled.
The grief of what was to come.
The brokenness and sin of the world to be placed upon His shoulders.
An innocent man about to taste the cup of God’s wrath for all of us.
Sweat dripped from His beard, blood fell in small droplets from His brow.
Grief in Gethsemane.
He wanted another way out. He asked for any other way- but He accepted to walk straight through.
Because there was no way but straight through. And He will go through- because He has to. Because to Him- we are worth it.
The Depths of Love
Love is a strange thing. Sometimes we mistake it for bouquets, chocolate hearts, and warm butterflies in the pit of our stomach.
But love has a depth so boundless, so eternal, and so unwavering- that the God of the universe steps down from His throne. He sets aside His glory and puts on flesh. The High and Holy becoming like one of His created.
And He came for this reason.
He knew the grief of Gethsemane before a virgin knew the pangs of pregnancy.
He knew the shame of the cross before the Romans invented this way of death.
And He knew the death He would die in order to bring us life.
In the garden, He grieved.
For what was lost in the first garden.
For what was to come.
And for every single person who had ever been or would ever be.
The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak.
“Not my will, but Yours.”
Yes, love is strange.
Sometimes it looks like beads of blood dripping from our Savior’s forehead.
Sometimes it looks like keeping silent when you are falsely accused.
Sometimes it looks like slaps across the face, spit in your eyes, and beard hairs plucked and tossed into the dirt by an angry crowd chanting- “Crucify Him.”
It is watching Barrabus walk away while you take the blows.
Love is looking out over a crowd from beneath a crown of thorns while they mock you as their King.
Love is carrying your own cross even as your legs tremble and give out beneath it.
It is having your arms and legs stretched out of joint as stakes are run through your hands and your feet.
Love is turning away the wine mixed with gall and choosing to feel every intense moment because you came here for this very moment.
Love is crying out for God to forgive them as you slowly suffocate.
It is giving your last breath up for them. For us.
We are thankful the story doesn’t end there.
But this is Good Friday and so for today, we leave it there.
The God of Heaven, alone- abandoned– dying on a cross.
And He knew it was coming. His mind wasn’t made up to endure the cross when the nails were placed and there was no way out- He made up His mind first in Heaven and again in Gethsemane. Through grief, through tears, and through blood- He chose us.
We were the joy that was set before Him- He endured the cross for us.
Oh, what a Savior.
He did it for us.
Let that sink in.
He chose the cross. He chose to die. All for us.
There is no greater grief than the garden of Gethsemane.
There is no greater love than enduring the cross.
Happy Good Friday.
Want more on Good Friday? Check out this video from Messages for Christ!