There have been many times in my life when I have had to face a situation that I did not want to face, had to do something that I just plain and simple did not think I had the strength of will, spirit or gumption to complete. And somehow, from somewhere, that strength came and I was able to complete the dreaded assignment. Perhaps not perfectly completed, but completed as best as I could at that particular point in time.
I wonder if Jesus had a similar experience on the Mount of Olives just before he was taken captive. He is pleading with God to "remove this cup" from him. He is hoping to lean on the prayers of the disciples, who fail him because of their grief. And then he sees his tormentors approach, and from somewhere he gains the strength to face what he must, to do what he has been ordained to do. He also comes back to himself for he heals the wound of one of the soldiers who was sent to capture him. I believe he remembers who he is at that moment.
From where did that strength come? It comes from God, and it is accessible because Jesus was being authentically Jesus. When we are in doubt, when we are in grief we can and we do find strength in prayer. In prayer we can and we do find our authentic selves, that kernel of love that God has for us and from which our love for the Body of Christ explodes. At our weakest and our most unsure we can be assured that we are not alone and that we do have the strength to put the grief and doubt aside and be our authentic selves, and do what we must.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.