This arrived in the inbox this morning and in light of recent prayer requests in our circles…thought this needed shared today.
It can be so difficult to be in the presence of someone who is suffering. We’re confronted by our own weakness and we’re reminded of our own suffering, so we feel powerless and our words seem meaningless. Sometimes it is even more difficult to be in the presence of others when we are suffering. It is easier to hide our weakness and our humanity and avoid the eyes of another. Have you ever been on either side of this? How did you feel?
We tend to think it is weak to be vulnerable and honest with others about our pain. Or we avoid putting it on display because we don’t want to burden people around us. But Jesus showed us something different. After the last supper with his disciples, Jesus took three of his closest friends into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He was in the midst of being betrayed by Judas; a betrayal so severe that it would lead to his arrest and crucifixion. Yet Jesus did not take his friends into the garden to put his power on display, but to put his weakness on display. In raw vulnerability he said to his friends there in the garden, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.” (Matt. 26:38, MSG)
Have you ever found comfort in the presence of a close friend? What makes their presence so significant? We know that their presence can’t change the difficult circumstances we’re facing, and yet mysteriously, we are strengthened and given peace.
So often we feel unqualified to be the one who brings comfort to another. But it is our weakness that qualifies us the most. Jesus saw his friends—a group of earnest yet messy, struggling, and sometimes insecure friends—as qualified to be with him in his moments of deepest anguish. And while they may not have responded with perfection, we can learn from their mistakes.
We can choose to keep showing up, even when we don’t know what to say. Even when we feel helpless and weak. We can choose to show up, knowing that Jesus, who asked his friends to show up and pray, is there with us. And we can allow ourselves to be vulnerable, knowing that even Jesus—who was Emmanuel, God with us—did the same.
Where do you need to show up this week? Who can you ask to show up for you?
excerpt from flannel.org “What do I say to someone who is suffering?”