Disappointments, frustrations, worries, the list goes on and on. We live in an age where we can quickly become overwhelmed by all that is happening around us and be lulled into a state of uncaring and complacency. Read as Chuck Swindoll shares from the book of Mark about the importance of staying awake and alert, especially in times of confusion and despair.
Article from The Swindoll Study Bible
“Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.’ Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before. When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say.” Mark 14:37-40, NLT
What do you do when someone strong in your life suddenly becomes weak? For as long as you can remember, you’ve been able to lean on that individual. You’ve found that person stable, strong, and reliable. But now all of that has changed.
Children face this when a parent suddenly becomes ill and then the illness doesn’t get better. They’ve always been able to rely on their mother or father, and now they can’t do that.
It happens in divorce. The children have always known Mom and Dad to work together and pull through, but then suddenly their home is fractured, and their parents may be at outright war. The children are left confused and lost.
Those who play sports rely on their coaches to be strong. The coach is always thinking about a plan for winning. As the season runs on, that intensity only grows greater. Even in a losing season, the team looks to the coach for encouragement and a boost. But when a coach throws in the towel and loses heart, the entire team loses its confidence.
Maybe you work for a company where you’ve always been able to rely on those at the top to be people of integrity. If you suddenly discovered that they aren’t, it’d be completely disheartening.
A church is dismayed if its pastor, who has always been true to the Word in the past, becomes soft in his convictions, or shows himself not to have financial accountability, or is discovered to lack moral purity. It starts a big scandal, pits people against one another, and can even destroy a congregation. Disillusionment, especially among new believers, often follows.
That state of disillusionment is exactly where the disciples found themselves in the garden of Gethsemane. For three and a half years, the disciples had trusted that Jesus would take care of everything. If they were caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee, He could calm it. If there was a disease, He could heal it. If there was a physical abnormality, He could change it. If there were demons, He could face off against them and make them stand down. If there were critics, He could stand toe to toe with them and bring them to silence.
Suddenly, the One they counted on and relied upon was somewhere out there in the dark, crying His heart out, overwhelmed with tormenting anguish. Can you imagine how they must have felt? Jesus seemed to be falling apart, and they weren’t able to handle it. Perhaps that’s part of the reason they fell asleep, in addition to the lateness of the hour. They didn’t know what to do when they heard their Master wrestling in prayer.
Jesus came back to them and asked, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Mark 14:37-38).
We would do well to consider His words. “Keep watch and pray.” Temptation is all around us. Temptation is within us. When people disappoint us or their strength seems to be lacking, ultimately our only hope is in our heavenly Father. But He needs us awake and paying attention—not getting lulled into the sleep of complacency. The world is a dangerous place. Our spirits may be willing, but our bodies are weak. When people disappoint us or their strength seems to be lacking, ultimately our only hope is in our heavenly Father.