Thursday, April 01, 2010

To Be Alone

He saw it coming. He knew He would be completely abandoned by those who claimed to love Him the dearest. He knew before the night was over, He would be alone.

I'm surrounded by people--family, friends, on-line friends, neighbors, even fictional people in books and on television. The few times I've been alone it's been restful...for a while. Then, when it's been quiet too long, I turn on music or television or something to fill the silence.

Jesus didn't have that option. When He was left alone, all He had for company were His thoughts-and the knowledge that the next hours would leave Him utterly alone, with the weight of the world on His shoulders.

Of course, the disciples never imagined that hours after the Passover supper they would be hiding in terror as their friend was abused, tormented, convicted (in illegal trials), and ultimately executed. Peter went as far as to insist that, no matter what, he would die with Jesus rather than leave Him. Big words...

The disciples couldn't see that their Lord was in emotional agony; when He asked them to pray, they fell asleep---three times. They were just clueless. It wasn't that Jesus had kept it a secret; He had told them He would die AND be resurrected only the day before. He told them that one of their group would betray Him. He told them He would meet them in Galilee after He had risen. If they had been listening (and Jesus told them countless times to listen) the events to come may not have been so completely unexpected.

It's easy to judge them for abandoning Jesus. They KNEW Him. They worked with Him for three years. They traveled together. They ate together. They had seen more miracles than anyone else. They had even told others that Jesus is the Christ. They, of all people, should have known. But, am I any different?

God speaks through His Word. The Bible is pretty clear about what God expects, desires, and gives. It should be second nature for believers to trust that God keeps His promises: we know about Noah and the rainbow, Gideon's fleece, Daniel's trip to the lion's den, Shadrach and his friends in Nebuchadnezzer's furnace, the countless times David escaped the wrath of Saul, and all the miracles and teachings of Jesus. It's all written down: God promises, God delivers.

Yet, when times are tough, I know I feel alone...and I have wondered what exactly God is doing. As I grow in my faith, I find it easier to trust Him, but there are days when I want to see Him in Galilee before the worst of trials are over. Perhaps the disciples, like me, decided to focus on the good things that Jesus said and pretend He didn't mean it when He said He would die and that they would disown Him. Perhaps the truth was so unimaginable that they thought it was a metaphor. Whatever they thought, the truth was far worse than any of them could have imagined; perhaps it was better for them in a way. Jesus knew, but they were protected from knowing.

It's important to know that, no matter how dire the situation, God will never forsake His children. We may not see beyond the moment, but HE sees the entire spectrum of events from beginning to end. He will never leave us alone. We just have to remember to stay awake and watch His plan unfold.

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