Playing worship music and letting it drift through the house. Praying in the Spirit relentlessly. Speaking scripture out loud to remind you of God’s goodness and provision. Attending every church service listening for the Word God has for you specifically. Standing in faith. Seeking things out that line up with what you have been believing for.
These things only go so far.
Yes, they only carry you so far.
How can I say that? Because I’m as far as I can get by doing all of this and it has carried me to the garden.
What garden am I talking about? The same one that Jesus sweated blood in.
If you read the story of the events leading up to the crucifixion in Luke chapter 22, you will come to the place where Jesus went to pray in the garden of Gethsemane. This is where he prayed so hard his sweat dripped as blood. This happens after an angel appears to him and strengthens him.
This is Christ, the Anointed, in such distress that he is sweating profusely because he knows what he is about to endure. He’s so distressed over it that he even asks God to remove this responsibility from him if possible.
I’ve been meditating on this story this week among others. I’ve been in prayer for weeks over a few situations in my life. Wednesday on the way to church, I was aggravated, angry, frustrated, beat down, fed-up, and then some.
I told my husband, “I’m tired of praying about it.” What IT is will be revealed at a later time and this will probably make more sense, maybe.
I wanted to throw in the towel. I felt like a failure as a Christian for reaching that point because of a teaching that I realize now we get off in a ditch with: count it all joy.
I hear many Christians give this advice when their brothers and sisters are in the garden when really what they need is compassion and a hug.
I don’t know where it says Jesus was laughing in the garden. I don’t know where it says Abraham went skipping up the mountain with a smile on his face telling Isaac to “Keep up! This is going to be awesome!” I don’t see where Noah was celebrating the death of the entire world with the exception of those allowed on the ark. I haven’t read where Mary went running out into the streets yelling, “I’m pregnant! I’m pregnant!”, pushing her belly out for those nearby to feel the kicks of our coming Savior.
But did they count it all joy?
They still had their moment in the garden though. They still had the moment of feeling the weight of their responsibility bearing down on them. Frankly, I’m tired of hearing people tell me, laugh it off, count it all joy, be happy, smile, and what not.
That is not what “count it all joy” means. James 1:2 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;”
If we continue in verse 3 it says, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her prefect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
It means that when we are working our way through tough situations, know that on the other side God’s glory will shine through.
When people tell me I shouldn’t be sad or have a moment of crying or despair, because I should “count it all joy” it makes me feel like I have failed as a Christian. It becomes a stumbling block to me.
I realized this week, even Jesus had his moment in the garden. There were other times he had a moment…he wept, he was angry, he had compassion, he showed love, he was frustrated…but the most important part…
…He sinned not.
He never sinned in these situations. We can have our moments of despair and crying and frustration and we can even tell God how we are feeling without a smile on our face.
That’s what He is there for. He’s our Father. We cry out to Him. We tell Him our heart.
When we tell others they should count it all joy, without compassion or understanding, during the season or situation they are in, we become their stumbling block and convict them of what they are going through instead of leading them to Christ in it.
Counting it all joy is knowing that God has it handled. In my situation that I’ve been praying about, I know that I know that I know that God’s got this but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It doesn’t mean I don’t need His strength. It doesn’t mean I can’t grow in the things of Christ.
I reached a low point and said I was tired of praying about it and heard the Holy Spirit say, “but God’s not tired of hearing about it.”
He’s there ALL THE TIME. He’s LISTENING to every word we speak. He does not leave us, He does not forsake us and He’s working all things out for good. When we reach our lowest, He wants to be there and we have to let Him. It brings us to a point where He becomes our everything. We have to cry out for Him. We have to keep our relationship with Him and not turn away because we feel ashamed that we couldn’t keep a smile on our face.
He doesn’t want fake.
He wants a real relationship with you.
Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
For the JOY that was set before him but yet he had a moment in the garden where he cried out to God! He knew the resulting joy of the situation and still cried out!
I know the joy that is coming in my situation. I know the testimony that is coming. I still had a moment in the garden. I was a mess earlier this week and then today, in prayer, with a second wind given to me by God, my Father, he had me laughing in the Spirit.
My situation looks the same as it did yesterday. Nothing has changed except I cried out to Him yesterday and today He gave me joy.
Luke 22:44 (KJV) And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
Psalm 30:5 (KJV) For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.