In the Garden
This is Holy Week, the week before Easter and the last week of Lent. I ask myself, “How am I to challenge myself so that I can be more awake to this significant event of Holy Week? This week when Jesus is drawing near to his suffering unto death?” During this time one of his chosen disciples betrays him, his other disciples do not have a clue who he is and what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and then they leave him to his executioners. How lonely that must have felt for Jesus. I have felt betrayed and misunderstood. I know that is a lonely feeling. How do we make meaning out of this final week of Fasting and praying so we will learn something different—so we will be someone different? We continue to listen to God.
Several times this week someone has either sung or said that “In the Garden” is one of their favorite hymns. Someone mentioned it this morning and I knew it was meant to be a teachable moment for me as I come to the end of this Daniel Fast. The hymn says, in part”
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.
To hear and know what God wants to teach us —as Jesus taught his disciples—we meet God in the silent morning. We enter a space where we can hear God. It is there that we understand in spite of betrayals, loneliness, weariness we are not alone. God is with us and that brings us joy. Jesus said this is not the joy that the world brings. You know what I mean, the game contestant jumping and down joy; the relaxed joy of being with a loved one; or the giddy joy of avoiding the traffic ticket. This joy that we get from Jesus is the joy of knowing that whether we feel God’s presence or not the Holy Spirit is our constant companion—regardless.
The joy we share when we meet Jesus “in the garden” allows us to get through one more day of uncertainty, one more disappointment, or another setback; yet keep going. That joy allows us to meet Jesus in the morning for strength to go all day then know that it will sustain us through the night in peace.
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.
We are not meant to stay in the garden. We are there to gain strength to go out and serve. We listen to Jesus’ teachings so we can teach others and give them the joy that allows them to keep going. We leave the garden, not to scatter in fear as the disciples will soon do—quiet as it’s kept, I probably would have run away fast, too! 😦 We leave the garden because it is then we begin the work. The Fast is over; ministry begins. We fast to hear God’s will; then we work.
Go ahead, stay in the garden a little while longer. We have a few more days to fast. Get all the comfort and joy you can. Learn everything. We will need it when we leave to do the work of God who has called us out of the garden and into the world.
Prayer: Precious Lord, thank you for the time we spend together in the morning. Your words strengthen me for the day ahead. I am grateful that you are with me 24/7. Amen.