Rise, let us be going. —Matthew 26:46
In the Garden of Gethsemane, the disciples went to sleep when they should have stayed awake, and once they realized what they had done it produced despair. The sense of having done something irreversible tends to make us despair. We say, “Well, it’s all over and ruined now; what’s the point in trying anymore.” If we think this kind of despair is an exception, we are mistaken. It is a very ordinary human experience. Whenever we realize we have not taken advantage of a magnificent opportunity, we are apt to sink into despair. But Jesus comes and lovingly says to us, in essence, “Sleep on now. That opportunity is lost forever and you can’t change that. But get up, and let’s go on to the next thing.” In other words, let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him.
There will be experiences like this in each of our lives. We will have times of despair caused by real events in our lives, and we will be unable to lift ourselves out of them. The disciples, in this instance, had done a downright unthinkable thing— they had gone to sleep instead of watching with Jesus. But our Lord came to them taking the spiritual initiative against their despair and said, in effect, “Get up, and do the next thing.” If we are inspired by God, what is the next thing? It is to trust Him absolutely and to pray on the basis of His redemption.
Never let the sense of past failure defeat your next step.
Good Morning Lord, The last three days entries fit together well – and bring a necessary message to humans like me who blow it, and get depressed or despair from time to time. “Let the failures go into the grace of the past. Don’t beat yourself up. And get up and do the next thing…probably a simple thing, but make sure it is the inspired thing, instead of my own self help thing.” This is good advice and good news, but it seems difficult to implement consistently. At least in my experience. Am I missing something?
As usual, the companion or counterpoint devotional that JD and I are reading this year gives a valuable perspective. This week’s summary of Centering Prayer gives some tools and perspective on how we can walk more consistently… out of despair, out of depression, and on to the next thing, inspired thru our connection with you. Here’s a link for those interested.
Thank you Lord for the juxtaposition of both daily devotionals. It is providing an “iron sharpening iron” effect when we mix both of their inputs plus our own and (hopefully) your overriding input. The message that boils down out of it all is amazingly consistent. And is leading us ever more toward a simple, and as Dietrich Bonnhoeffer called for, “a religionless Christianity” One where we simply surrender our will, ego, Big Four needs to look good, feel good, be right and be in control, and through Connection with You, we can stay Curious, see what you are saying to us, and just live out of that. With this type of living, the only thing worth striving for is maintaining our connection with you. And that striving isn’t really striving. It’s more like releasing, letting go, self emptying and falling into it. Sometimes, like this week, one devotional provides a “what” and the other fills in the “how.” Thank you for your love and grace. We couldn’t make it without you.