I know it’s not the Easter season, but I just thought of this lesson this week. We always are reminded that Jesus actually won the battle in the Garden of Gethsemane, when he submitted to the will of God, no matter how painful. His personal suffering is often used as an example of his humanity.
So, it occurred to me that it also illustrates the point that acceptance of difficult, even hurtful situations in our lives is a process.
Jesus knew what his mission was on earth. He knew what was the right thing to do. He wanted to do the right thing– had planned all along to do the right thing. And yet, when the reality of facing the cross was imminent, even Jesus had to go through a process of acceptance. He was sorrowful and troubled, and he wanted people (James and John) to be near him and share his burden in a small way.
Jesus may have known all along that in the end he would accept the terrible events he had to face, but he, our perfect example, couldn’t arrive at that point instantly.
Perhaps there is some physiological reason that the human body can’t (usually) immediately take bad news and leap into positive acceptance of it, no matter how spiritual a person may be.
We’ve been taught to recognize the stages of grief. We need friends to talk to when troubling things happen. And yet, we sometimes say to suffering people, “Get over it!”
Jesus, our perfect example, spent the difficult time in prayer. And yet, it took even God in human form several hours to reach the point where he could hold up his head and say, “I’m ready to face this.”
Now, there are those who insist on lingering in their sorrow, or refuse to move along the process of recovery. Some people refuse to accept the truth, or God’s will. We do need to be moving toward acceptance. We need to be seeking God’s will for our lives. This can take a while, in the face of major changes in our situation. And none of us are facing such a serious crisis as Jesus was.
But, we need to have patience with ourselves and others when troubling situations arise.
Perhaps when Jesus told the disciples, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak,” he was speaking of his own flesh, as well as theirs.