Matthew 26:36-46 (NIV)

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee1 along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.  38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow2 to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”3  39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup4 be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”5 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me6 for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.7 The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”8 43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour9 is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

John 21:18 (NIV)

18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”

DEVOTION – Pamela Williams (Pennsylvania)

Recently my mom endured several hospital stays and a stint in a nursing facility for rehab.  Though weak, she still managed sparks of wry humor.  One afternoon as I fastened her hospital gown, she pasted on a smile and said, “I sure can relate to that verse about someone else dressing you and taking you where you don’t want to go.”

Later, I pondered Jesus’ words to Peter in John 21:18.  Like Mom, we all occasionally face circumstances over which we have no control.  What do we do?  Jesus’ next words offer the solution:  “Follow me” (John 21:19).  Jesus left an example for us to follow.  (See 1 Pet. 2:21.)  How did he handle the prospect of unavoidable pain and suffering?  What did he do when he knew what was necessary but still hoped for a way out?

To answer these questions God led me to Matthew 26:36-46.  Jesus’ time in the Garden of Gethsemane reveals four steps he took that we can follow.  First, we can pray, and then pray some more.  Then, we can accept what cannot be changed.  Next we can submit control to God.  Finally, we can step out in faith, assured that God will go with us.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: In tough times, I will remember to pray and step out in faith.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, in the circumstances we are powerless to change, help us to relinquish control to you.  Amen.