September 23

Text: Matthew 26:37, 38

And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He *said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me."  (NASB)

In times of distress, few things are as important as “being there” for the person in distress.  It is not a matter of having the right words.  It is not a matter of having the right thoughts.  It is not even a matter of having the answers to complex situations.  It is just a matter of caring enough to be there.  Your silence will speak volumes!  It is amazing how comforting the physical presence of a person can be!  Just being there in a stressful moment eloquently declares the depth of your loving concern.

In the same way, not “being there” in a stressful moment makes eloquent statements.  The situation is even more hurtful if you were “there” for the person in his/her moment of extreme stress, but the person is not “there” for you in your moment of extreme stress.  Not being there says unconcern—or worse.  If the person communicates a “so what” attitude in the moment your grief overwhelms you, the hurt you feel will not soon be forgotten. 

It is not a matter of the friend doing something to “fix” the hurt.  It is just a matter of awareness and concern.  The empathetic presence of a concerned person declares caring as nothing else can.  The conspicuous absence of an uncaring person is just as eloquent!  Often a caring person says, “But I did not do anything!”  Oh, but you were “there” for someone in misery!

Jesus was “there” for the disciples many times.  Unlike us, he had the right words, the right thoughts, and the answers.  Now—perhaps for the only time—Jesus needed them.  He just needed them to be aware of what a difficult moment this was for him.  He needed the prayers of close friends as they watched with caring concern.

And what did they do—how did they react?  They went to sleep!  What a dagger to the heart in such a trying moment!

Suggestion for reflection: How are you “there” for Jesus?  When?  (Read Hebrews 12:1-13.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell