Not long before Jesus was to be arrested and later die on the cross, He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42. This was His ‘Gethsemane moment’, deeply distressed, Jesus prayed three times for ‘this cup’ to pass Him by. “Nevertheless”, He prayed, in complete surrender to the will of His father in heaven. Jesus showed us that even those with the strongest of faith can feel weak and overwhelmed in a time of crisis. In our times of deepest sorrow, in the middle of a Gethsemane moment, it’s hard to believe that all things will work out for good, in fact it’s hard to believe in much at all. Understand this, it’s okay to feel weak and afraid, one of the things we can learn from Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane is that He understands when we feel overwhelmed and frightened of what lies ahead, Jesus has been there.
The day of our 6 month pregnancy appointment is recorded in my mind as a Gethsemane moment, a moment when I was faced with imminent physical and emotional pain, exhausted from deep sorrow I fell to my knees and cried out ‘God take this from me’. I know we are called to trust Him but I prayed He would change things so as I didn’t have to trust Him. All I could think was ‘save me from this nightmare’. Author Wayne Jacobsen writes that in every situation we encounter, there are two options in prayer.; ““Father, save me,” or “Father, glorify your name!”” One will lead you to frustration and disillusionment, the other to the greatest wonders in God’s heart”.
What began as a day of trusting in a loving Heavenly Father would soon become a day wrought with frustration and disillusion. 9am was our scheduled appointment, as we drove to the clinic a strange impending grief washed over me, like a robe of sadness had been draped across my shoulders. Our obstetrician, George was always so warm and caring, he re-assured me that I was looking well, healthy and perhaps a little anxious given my past experience of loss. However ‘to put my mind at ease’, he offered ‘let’s have a look at bub shall we’?.
Today as I write, my eyes glass over with tears, tears I have not yet allowed to fall… grief is such a mysteriously long road. I recall the moment both Lee and George anxiously gazed at the monitor, they could see what I had been feeling – no presence of life in my womb. With tears in his eyes, George turned to me and said ‘I am sorry’. Clear memories of what I felt in that moment fail me, the shock and terror of burying another baby gripped me with an iron fist around my throat. I found it hard to breath and hard to cry!.
Much happened between the labour, birth and saying goodbye to our baby. After a night in hospital, we packed our belongings and embarked on a long silent drive home, so empty, so disillusioned, physically and emotionally exhausted. My 4yo daughter was waiting outside, excited to see us, as we hugged I explained that she was a big sister to a baby boy and he was not well so God had taken him straight to Heaven. Tears in her eyes she said ‘that’s okay mummy we’ll see him in Heaven’. Oh to have the resilience and ‘matter of fact’ attitude of a child, so faithfully they cope with life’s hurdles. Her childlike faith and absolute trust in God made way for her healing to begin immediately, unlike myself and most ‘grown-ups’ we want the facts, question ‘why me?’, hurl accusations at God then journey through a maze of guilt, doubt, shame and unbelief until we come full circle back to where we began… at His feet and completely surrendered. The moment we choose to trust in a loving Father with faith of a child, not having all the answers but trusting in the One who does, that is the defining moment when we receive a peace that surpasses understanding, a peace which is beyond words. Perhaps that is why Jesus so loved the little children He took them in His arms and blessed them “… Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14.