Because of the involvement Ken and I have with so many people, we are weekly hearing about the trials, difficulties and suffering that Christians are experiencing. Just last week we heard about a precious sister in Jesus whose husband and son are both presently battling cancer.
Although we are always ready to comfort with God’s Word and prayer, recently we learned something new to do when we are facing not only our own suffering but the suffering of precious fellow believers. What God showed us was in a most common passage but the nugget was not common and it was new for our souls.
“And when He arose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and He said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.'” (Luke 22:45, 46)
The first new thing we noticed was the disciples were ‘sleeping’ in their sorrow rather than praying. How often do we try to sleep off our sorrow? How often do we head to the TV, refrigerator, mall or a bar to handle our sorrow? We are all aware of the detours we take away from the King’s highway when we are in sorrow-not a new concept. What we hadn’t noticed was the remark by Jesus to pray that you may not enter into temptation.
Ask yourself this question, when you hear of suffering do you pray for the person to not fall/enter into temptation? I want to confess that I pray many things for others when suffering has knocked on their life door but I must admit I have NOT EVER MADE A HABIT of praying for the vulnerability that one will face during the time of suffering. Ken and I began to discuss the list of people and poor choices that were made during a time of sorrow! Vulnerability during a time of sorrow is something we must all pray about in our own lives and the lives of those we love. How ironic, that in the Lord’s Prayer Jesus tells us to pray that we are not ‘lead into temptation’ and then He mentions the vulnerability to temptation in the Garden of Gethsemane when disciples were ‘sleeping in their sorrow.’
Spend some time considering your own vulnerability to temptation during a past time of sorrow. Consider adding to your prayers for others who are facing great sorrow… ‘keep them from temptation God.’ I wonder if Peter had prayed rather than sleep, might his denial of Jesus have been prevented. I wonder if the other disciples had prayed rather than sleep, would they have fled in fear, leaving behind faithful, prayerful women who were last at the cross, first to the grave!
Can you think of a moment during this year already when during a trial or sorrow, you found yourself considering yielding to a temptation that you would have NEVER said ‘yes’ to during a time of peace and joy?