by June Friesen
Recently when we were on one of our hiking adventures this sign caught my eye. While this sign was for those who would be kayaking and boating, I was immediately drawn to the words. Why? I thought of how it is in our lives at times – we are moving along quite easily and maybe even quickly and ‘boom’ there seems to be a collision of sorts. As I have pondered this sign, and this thought, I began to realize that this is something one can relate to in life. While it may not necessarily be a rock in our path, we still find a difficulty or problem that we have to face and navigate.
It was interesting as I thought about different people in the Scriptures and especially those who we often refer to as godly people or people who followed God. There is Noah who chose to build a boat at God’s command when the people up to that time had never even seen rain or at least not a rain that caused flooding. There was Abraham who followed God for miles and miles and even backtracked at times until God finally told him he could stop and settle. There was Ruth, David, Samuel, and many others in the Old Testament and it continues on in the New Testament especially with Jesus and on into the times after His Ascension with Peter, Paul, Stephen and others. So when it comes to you and I, I would say that this sign is also one that can give us some thoughts to ponder as well. For Scripture today I am going to refer to a passage where Jesus is quoted as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Matthew 26: 36-46
Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”
39 Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?”
40-41 When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”
42 He then left them a second time. Again he prayed, “My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I’m ready. Do it your way.”
43-44 When he came back, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open. This time he let them sleep on, and went back a third time to pray, going over the same ground one last time.
45-46 When he came back the next time, he said, “Are you going to sleep on and make a night of it? My time is up, the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the hands of sinners. Get up! Let’s get going! My betrayer is here.”
‘My Father, I do not understand you, But I trust You.’ Have you ever found yourself at the point of using this in your prayer/prayers as you are seeking God for an answer? I have been at this point in my prayers in my own life as well as sometimes when I am praying for others.
I remember one time vividly in my life when I was in deep distress over a situation in my life over which I had absolutely no control. My heart was broken and I could only wonder ‘why me God?’ I had tried to do everything right. I had tried to help this person in so many ways. And I just could not understand why I was now in this present circumstance. In my desperation that day I went to our church sanctuary. There was a big wooden cross hanging at the front. I threw myself on the floor at the foot of that cross, sobbing my heart out, pounding my fists on the floor and cried out to God…..”WHY? WHY? I TRIED TO DO THINGS RIGHT. I DID MY BEST TO FOLLOW YOU. NOW THIS…..GOD, HOW COULD YOU LET THIS HAPPEN…..I JUST DO NOT UNDERSTAND.” I have no recollection of how long I stayed there, how long and hard I cried…..however this one thing I am sure of and that was God’s response to me. To me it seemed audible – whether it was or not I have no idea as I was there alone with God. God said, “June, I can do it ‘your way’ or I can do it ‘my way’. What is your choice?” Talk about being caught off guard – well I sure was. It was then I realized that God was at work in this whole situation and it then became my choice ‘to let go and let God,’ or to ‘demand God do what I wanted.’ (By the way I did let go, I did let God. It took a few more years but I have learned God had a plan quite different than mine. And it is an ‘okay plan).
A Gethsemane moment in my life. Letting go and letting God…..I work with so many people and this is one of the greatest struggles many people have and might I say it is a struggle in the lives of many Christians as well. The struggle is real, and Jesus told His followers that it would not be easy. We see evidence of this in Peter even with Jesus and then in the New Testament after Jesus’ ascension we see the struggles of the followers of Jesus.
LET GO…….LET GOD
Open your hands and let go –
Open your hands and spread your fingers –
Open your hands and shake them a bit –
Open your hands and blow over with your breath.
Let go of the struggles you are fighting –
Let go of the bondage that attempts to bind you –
Let go of the nagging thoughts that want to hold your mind captive –
Let go – release – and breathe – and think.
Let go of the could of, should of and would have….
Let go of the feelings of regret, sadness and anger…..
Let go of the negative feelings and attitude…..
Let go – – – – release – – – – breathe.
Release your being from the screaming of the world –
Release your mind from the control of the world –
Release your body members from the bondage of the enemy –
Release yourself to God’s Spirit – breathe deeply of Him and begin to live.
Breathe deeply of the Spirit’s Presence –
Allow Him to inhabit the depths of your soul –
Begin to embrace His life-giving Presence –
Now is when God-given life can really begin.
Embrace the new gifts you are being given –
Love, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness, patience –
Begin to live out the presence of these wonderful gifts
And give unto others of them as you have been given.
The world around you will begin to change for the good –
Love will be shared among many around you and it will grow –
Peace will begin to be acknowledged and embraced and overflow –
Joy will become a bubbling overflow from your presence to the world –
Gentleness shown will calm those around you –
Kindness will be doubled as those receiving will begin to share as well –
Patience will begin to arise slowly and its blessings will begin to multiply.
And so it is my friend that you and I can begin to impact the world with God’s energy –
They may not recognize it as God at first
But when they begin to see the trickling, spreading and growing effects
They will not be able to help themselves from exclaiming –
“Indeed life is all about a God-infused life – and living a God-infused life. No one and not even me may understand it – but oh how we will begin to embrace and live it. And in all that we do and say my it truly be that God’s name will be forever honored and glorified in and through us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Photos by June Friesen. Scripture is from the Message Translation.
Christine Sine is offering three seasonal, virtual retreats to explore living in balance and in line with the natural and liturgical rhythms of the year. Join her for one or all of them September 2, October 14 and December 9. These retreats will encourage us to center ourselves and our lives as we move through the seasons beginning in Fall and moving through Advent. They will be times of reflection, creativity and fun.