Nevertheless Love

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Artwork by Cindy Kaney

“My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watchwith me.”

There is a kind of sorrow that cannot be endured alone. I have only experienced shades of it and when I read these words I can feel only a fraction of what it must have been like.

Fully God and yet fully human, in this moment he asked for others.  Wait with me. Watch with me. Don’t fall asleep.

You have no idea.

And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

On his face in sorrow. The gravity of what he was about to do was becoming more and more real.  The hour was coming. Was there any other way?  He knew what he came to do and was willing to do it… but could it be less horrific?  Less painful?  Less humiliating?

Was the anguish for himself or was it for them?

Could they handle what they would see? Would their pride overcome their young faith?  He knew they would deny him, betray him and walk away from him.  But would they really be able to persevere until the end?

And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?   Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The flesh is indeed weak.

For three years they clung to him. Needy, high maintenance and full of questions.  Heal him… come here… tell us this… I’m first… do you love me most?

He taught them everything they needed to know up until that point.  The one time he asked something of them…. for him… and they couldn’t do it.

Stay awake.  Keep your eyes open.  Listen. Watch.

The flesh is weak, nevertheless…

His love overshadows our weakness.  Indeed if the flesh is willing and if we fall on our faces nevertheless love feeds nevertheless faith and meets our shades of sorrow and sweat.

“My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

Knowing there is something bigger than our fear, deeper than our pain, beyond the scope of what we see in front of us.  That is nevertheless faith.

This is Jesus. He who was willing to let his skin be shred, his body broken, his blood poured out, his humility brought to the point of death… for us who are weak, sleepy, prone to wander, and resistant.

This is nevertheless love. 

I am weak and tired, nevertheless He will strengthen me with his hope.

I am prone to wander and doubt, nevertheless He is faithful.

I am prone to judging others nevertheless he does not reject those who come to him.

I am prone to lack compassion, nevertheless his mercies are new every morning.

I am prone to anger, nevertheless he is slow to anger and abounding in love.

I am prone to discouragement, nevertheless he rejoices over me with loud singing.

Fill in your blank:  I am too _______________, I have done too many _______________, my past is too _________________, my heart is too ___________________.

Regardless of where you’ve been, what you’ve done, who you are and what you will become, nevertheless you are deeply loved and forever welcome in this Kingdom.

The Spirit indeed is willing.

On Friday we reflect on nevertheless love that would not let the cup pass from Him.  On Sunday we rejoice in nevertheless power that raised Him from the dead.

This is marvelous.  This is Jesus.

When/where have you known His nevertheless love?

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