It’s fascinating to watch Jesus in the last few moments of His life. We know that He never did anything but what He saw the Father in Heaven doing. He was wholly submitted to Father God’s will being accomplished. We find Him in the garden of Gethsemane as He takes His final stand in prayer. Gethsemane means oil press, which would be the place where an olive, for example, is squeezed so hard that it releases the oil that it has inside; a fitting place for Jesus to go in preparation for the cross where He would experience the most intense squeezing that anyone has ever undertaken. He’s in absolute agony over what He’s about to face. The Passion Translation says that, “an intense feeling of great sorrow plunged His soul into deep sorrow and agony.” Mt.26:37 Three times He wrestles in prayer with the Father, looking for a better solution than the torture that He was about to face, and three times He comes back saying your will be done, not my will. I can’t help but be reminded of the parallel of the apostle Paul who himself approached Father God three different times to alter his difficult experience, and the Father says My grace is sufficient for you. In other words, I have empowered and strengthened you to be able to finish this race well. Sometimes God’s provision for your situation is to give you strength to endure, rather than simply remove you from what you are experiencing. And in every case, there is something bigger happening. While your painful circumstances likely have little to do with God, the fruit that comes from your successful endurance, definitely is Him. And when we are faithful in the midst of adversity, He always rewards us. Are we willing to pray, as Jesus did in the midst of adversity, your will be done and not mine? In the case of Jesus, what was on the other side of His obedience was salvation made available to the entire planet. What’s on the other side of your obedience and patient endurance?
If, over the last couple of years, you have found yourself in your own oil press, I want to encourage you that there is one who understands. In fact, I would suggest to you that no one knows your situation and the pain that you are experiencing better than Jesus, and He wants to bear the burden with you. Soon we will be celebrating, not just the death, but the resurrection of the only true God who came in the flesh, Jesus Christ. If you are like so many, you’ve probably been living for you, calling your own shots, and largely doing what you please (the source of so many of our pains if I’m being honest). I was like that once. This Easter I guess I would ask you one question; how is that going for you? Having been on both sides, I can assure you, there’s nothing like living for Jesus. Call out to Him. He is waiting for you. Give your life to Him. He fashioned you in your mother’s womb on purpose and for purpose. He knows how to take care of you, but you have to entrust your life to Him. It’s an all or nothing proposition. You’ve done things your way and it has never addressed that void you feel in your heart. That’s because that void can only be filled by Jesus. What do you have to lose?! Ask Him into your heart. Ask Him to take the keys, and to exchange your broken life for the life of abundance that He died to release to you. Trust me, you won’t regret it! Let Jesus redeem all of that squeezing and transform you into something glorious! Happy Easter!