Then he returned to the disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.
Have you ever felt abandoned? Have your friends or family members ever failed to show up in your hour of need? If we are honest, it happens more frequently than we would like to admit. When we feel abandoned it is not a pleasant experience. As a matter of fact it is painful. Sometimes it may lead us to react with sadness, anger, or even with a “who cares” attitude.
In Matthew 26:40, Jesus was entering a critical stage in God’s divine plan for humanity. The hour was dark and he was praying in the garden at Gethsemane. If anyone needed prayer support, it was Jesus. If anyone needed morale support, it was Jesus. His mantle was heavy, his soul was consumed with sorrow to the point of death. Jesus was about to be crucified and in his hour of greatest need, he found himself alone.
Where were his friends at the critical hour? Where were the disciples who had kept him company over the past three years of ministry? Where were the brothers and witnesses who had watched him teach the crowds with divine authority, heal the sick, feed the hungry, and resurrect the dead to life? They were sleeping, and completely disconnected from his need. As Jesus labored in the garden, agonizing over what was about to happen to him, those that should have been faithful to him; those that knew him best, were missing in action. Three times Jesus checked on them, and three times, he found them sleeping. That’s harsh!
But beloved of the Lord, if Jesus, who is God incarnate was abandoned by his followers; if he who loved us while we were yet sinners was let down by those closest to him, you will too. Don’t be surprised if family members, friends or other believers let you down. You will be abandoned not just once, but repeatedly. That's the bad news.
Now here is the good news. In his hour of greatest need, Jesus turned to the ONE who would never leave him nor forsake him. This same faithful God is available to you. He will strengthen you when you are weak. He will comfort you when you are disappointed. He will be your companion in your hour of darkness. He will give you peace when others desert you. You don’t need an attitude. You need God. As Jeremy Camp sings in his song, Give Me Jesus:
Give me Jesus; Give me Jesus
You can have all this world;
Just give me Jesus
If you have Jesus, you have all you will ever need. Hold on to him, he will never abandon you. You are safe in Him.
Father, I want more of you. You are my shelter and my hiding place. I know that in this world I will find trouble, but I am running to you, because you have overcome the world. Let my spirit find rest in your love. Amen.