Covid. Work. Social and political differences. The 24-hr news cycle. It’s hard to escape the many stressors of today’s world.
If you deal with bouts of anxiety and worry, take heart. Jesus did too.
Jesus knew the tension that comes with being disliked. In fact, he’d made some powerful enemies.
One night, he became particularly worried because he knew his adversaries would come for him soon. He knew he’d be arrested, tortured, and executed. And it stressed him out.
Jesus dealt with his anxiety the way many of us do. He retreated to a favorite quiet place – a garden of old growth olive trees on the side of a mountain.
He brought his friends along for support while he wrestled with his emotions. But when he wanted to pray, he wandered away a bit, probably so they wouldn’t hear what he was saying.
He asked God to make his problem go away, to give this responsibility to somebody else. But he knew God wasn’t going to answer that prayer.
Jesus said his soul was grieved to the point of death – that’s how he described his anxiety. There were reports that he was so upset, he was sweating so much it was like blood drops that fell to the ground.
Just like us, Jesus did his best to deal with it. And just like us, his coping mechanisms didn’t work so well.
His friends fell asleep. Despite his prayers, he still had the same impossible job to do. And the men who were hunting him found him that night, right there in the garden.
Yet, despite this total failure to calm his anxiety, Jesus found the strength to face his accusers. He submitted to them willingly and without violence, knowing that his death would only further spread his message of radical love.