Pain: the Gethsemane Guarantee
19 April, 2008
Pain - The Gethsemane Guarantee
Awareness of your future can be a free path to agony. Smelling the daisies, beholding the oaks or resting among the birds would not be for Jesus in this garden. This dark garden would only ever deliver more darkness to Jesus. Gethsemane would guarantee Jesus' pain far beyond any common experience, or human endurance. Gethsemane was Jesus' gateway to pain. A pain that was written unchangeably in heavenly annals preceding time itself.
None can escape pain in an earth that isn't heaven, in an earth ruled by the prince of the air. The ubiquitous dilemma to life only ever asks when, or how much, or how to flee. There is no 'if' to pain. None will escape it and most will flee it. Curiously some will pursue it.
It can be very difficult to 'make sense' in life if I am unable to 'make sense' in pain.
Pain is simply in this world as a result of sin. (Check Gen 3/Romans 1/ Rev 12). However my pain may NOT always be the result of my sin. See Soul Seminars/suffering
Pain is not desired in the heart of God, (God does not desire to bring affliction Lam 3:33), nor by any of us if we are healthy.
Stoicism may be an approach to manage continuous pain, but it permits no finiteness. In God's economy pain should lead to restoration not resignation.(see Jer 31:13-14)
The healthy feel pain and do not flee it. It is equally healthy to look to Him who bore all our cares and infirmities. (Is 53:4). There is much to learn in considering pain from the view two metres above the ground that belonged to the Christ of the Cross.
Managing the Gethsemane Guarantee ... 9 reflections
Jesus has left Gethsemane well behind and is to be cruelly crucified. These following points arise from the text of Matthew's gospel in ch 27:32-56.
- Pain is delivered (usually) from the hands of others. It arrives when others totally disregard another's well being and justice has been sacrificed. V32 ff
- He endured pain and did not obscure it. He took no wine (v33) He took no path of escape (Mt 26:51-53). He chose to feel, and not flee. He also knew that pain is finite.Jesus does NOT interfere in the pain process to change it for His betterment. He continues to absorb this cumulative pain. He permits the course of this pain.
- In pain no bitterness only grace and forgiveness, were the fruit of His lips. He did not use the evil done to Him as an excuse to promote more evil through cursing and vengeance.
- Truth brought Him pain. (v37).Those who understand and face the truth of their life may well receive pain, but when accepted will bring freedom and glory. "The truth shall set you free."
- In His pain He did not fulfil His desires
when offered to Him. His heart, head and hands were screaming for release from this cross, but He permitted no ungodly indulgence despite the depth of pain. Nails, wounds and cursing were not going to hinder His love and His faithfulness for the Father.(v42) No personal desires would rule His pain. The bystanders even offer to believe in Him, if He gets down from the cross, which any human would want to do.(NB Jesus knew He could get off the cross, but chose not to.)
- His pain was lived in darkness.(v45) (See the discussion on Darkness and Depression). Pain is an act of darkness and malevolence, not of goodwill. Darkness is the very nature of pain. Pain drives away and removes the light of health and conversely the health of light.
- Jesus is alone in His pain. It is received but it can't shared, it is desperately lonely. The nature of pain is to be alone. People can even flee the person they see in frequent pain. This person can look as if they have been struck by God. V46 ... see also Is 53:4
- When correctly responded to our pain can lead others to God (v54). Others see how we handle pain, they will quietly observe our foolishness or our faithfulness. My pain's purpose will always be higher than just me.
- There will always be others who care for those in pain, (even if they are impotent and at a distance...v55). Pain can sever companionship, but it can't cut the care of another for you. Jesus will never leave His own unattended. In their pain (even when this pain is blind to Him) He still walks beside them. (Lk 24:13-35)
Pain is processed in prayer. It must be permitted to proceed through me and not prevented on the way. It is to flow through me, not kept to feed on me. Obscuring pain (drinking, illegal drugs, immorality etc) only blocks my pain and keeps it in.
Repeating pain (i.e. continually talking about my pain) does not remove it. This only magnifies it. Pain is processed when it is removed by Jesus at the foot of the cross, often in broken humility. Pain is cumulative until it is relinquished to someone stronger than I.
ConclusionIn dealing with pain, refuse to allow that which will rot to rule the eternal.
There is no person too remote or too insignificant for Jesus to reach and love. He has 'been there done that!'
For the LORD comforts his people
and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. Is 43:13b
Remember: "The impossible is available to those who rely on the eternal."