Rise up; let us go. Lo, he that betrayeth Me is at hand. Mark 14:42 (KJ21)
I love mornings and I usually have no problem getting out of bed—except on the days I exercise. I do not understand why it is so hard for me to get out of bed when I know my trainer is downstairs. But what I really will never understand is why my husband Howard gets up 30 minutes BEFORE he is to workout so he can “get some cardio in." Isn’t cardio a workout? On average Howard tells me three times that my trainer is downstairs before I actually rise up and make my way to the trainer. And to be honest, I may physically rise up, but in my heart, I’m still sleeping! I would like to think if Jesus told me to rise up I would jump up! But if Peter, James and John didn’t jump up, what makes me think I would?
One night Jesus and His disciples went to the Mount of Olives to pray. This was not unusual for Jesus because He prayed often. But tonight was different. Jesus knew this would be the last time He would pray on the Mount of Olives because His death was imminent. Can you imagine the agony He felt knowing Judas had just left the Upper Room to betray Him and lead to His arrest? Knowing what was ahead of Him, Jesus asked His small group to pray, but his friends couldn’t keep their eyes open. When Jesus returned for support, they were asleep.
Have you ever been betrayed? Have you trusted your friends with a prayer request and felt they didn’t care enough to ask how you are doing when inside your heart was breaking? Jesus can relate because that is exactly what happened to Him. He knew it was going to be a tough night and He needed His friends more than ever. But all they could do was sleep! Knowing how much Jesus loved them, I’ve got a feeling Jesus was more concerned about what they were about to face than what He was about to face. He was trying to teach His disciples what to do when faced with a difficult situation—pray! And not only to pray, but ask the people you love the most to pray with you. Peter, James and John they failed to pray on this occasion, but they were young in their faith; later, all three became mighty prayer warriors. We all are growing in our faith and even though people may fail us, we need each other.
When life gets tough and you don’t feel like going on, pray, and ask others to pray with you. Then, rise up! Yes, rise up! I’ve had times when it has been difficult to pray. It’s hard to find the words and I just find myself on my knees crying. During this time, it can be tough to ask others to pray for us because we fear exposing our lack of faith and risk being seen as weak. But what I have found to be the most difficult is to rise up and keep going. The last thing I want to do is rise up. I want to just sit and do nothing. You know what I mean. When your heart is breaking and you don’t know how you can go on, it seems impossible to keep going.
When Jesus told His disciples to rise up, He knew His prayers hadn’t changed His situation. So the only thing left to do was to rise up and face it. Jesus told His disciples to rise up because His betrayer was at hand. In other words, it was time to face reality. When David was told in 2 Samuel 12:19-20 that his son was dead, he rose up and took a bath. David prayed for God to spare his son, but once he knew his son was dead, David rose up. David knew he could not change his circumstances, and when he realized God had not changed them for him, he rose up and continued to do all he knew to do; he continued to be king.
When our circumstances don’t change and we are faced with a difficult situation, we must pray in His strength, ask others to pray with us, and then rise up and walk with God. God has not promised that your life will be without suffering, nor was His. But He has promised to walk with you in the midst of suffering and give you His strength to continue on your journey.
Mark 14:32-42, Matthew 26:46, 2 Samuel 12:19-20