This is Holy Thursday - the night of betrayal for Jesus and the start of an horrendous ordeal for Him. Tonight I would humbly like to share something I wrote about 25 years ago. At the time I was going through a very difficult trial which I won't detail now but then I thought it would be the most difficult thing I would ever have to endure. How little did I know then that it wasn't and that these words would come back to me all these years later to give me comfort in this present season. But God knew - and I believe that is why He led me to find them all these years later. For He is the same God today as He was then and will be in all my days to come.
At the time I wrote these words I was attending a major denominational church and it was the custom on Holy Thursday to ask members to sit in various time slots for an all night vigil. I signed up for a 60 minute time slot and off I went. And this is what I wrote to Him and how He responded to me in my heart.
It is so quiet here. Such peace fills this place - such calm. So much calm and peace it will be difficult to leave. There are others here - many have come to sit through the night with you. As I sit here I wonder what was really going through your mind that night. There were no candles for you - no baskets of beautiful white flowers - You didn't even have anyone sitting with you. They were all asleep. I'm here with You now, but I wonder if I'm really no different. It's easy to spend 60 minutes with you in a comfortable seat, in a warm room with candles and flowers. But would I go out into the garden in the dark on a chilly spring night and kneel down in the dirt by a rock - I think not - I would probably be asleep with the others. How often do I fall asleep in my life becoming unaware of the call to spend time with You. How many have been the times I have feigned sleep so as not to be available or become involved.
Yet, You knew that about me even then as You knealt. How incredible that is to me - my mind cannot grasp it - You knew I would fail and fall short and yet You still gave Your "yes". You knew what was coming - about the cross and the horrible way you were to die by taking upon my sins and thereby being separated from Your Father. It is written that you sweated blood and that an angel came to comfort you and give you strength. I believe the angel also brought you peace and that You were given a vision - a vision of the resurrection glory that was to come. You understood that Friday was necessary so that Sunday could happen.
And so, when I come here to "stay awake with You awhile" with the intent of sharing Your anxiety and pain You say to me - No my love - look to the vision - the glory and victory of the resurrection. On all the Fridays in your life when you feel lost and alone remember that I carried all that for you. I leave you with the vision of victory - the glory of triumph over death. Walk in the light - let no one in the world or of the world rob you of the peace I give. It is a peace so strong and powerful it carried me through the most horrendous time a human could have endured. Remember the vision - I share it with you to give you strength and peace.
And so on this night as I prepare to spend my first Easter without my beloved I am strengthened by that vision - the triumph over death that is given to us all as a pure gift - salvation through the blood of Christ. Yes, Jesus Is Lord - Jesus Is My Lord. He is here beside me this night as I pray in my garden of sorrow - He is not asleep. He stands ready to comfort me and strengthen me.
He stands ready to do the same for you as well dear one. He is right there beside you.