‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful’
Some thoughts by Don Egan
The events of Holy Week are the real roots of Christianity. We follow a suffering Saviour. Much of Christendom has dumbed down the message of Jesus to some Disneyesque-positive-thinking-trite-slogan religion where the idea is, if you pray enough, God will make everything OK and we’ll all live happily ever after. That is not the message of Jesus at all.
Life involves suffering for every man woman and child born on earth.
Some suffer more than others. Some suffering is physical while others suffer emotionally.
For thirty years I was hurting badly. Emotionally traumatised by grief, I somehow got on with life but was only ever firing on two or three cylinders at most. If the Disneyesque Jesus was real, he’d have sent the Fairy Godmother and waved a magic wand and taken my pain away before now. But he didn’t.
When I read the account of Jesus in Gethsemane I am encouraged. I know I’m following a Jesus who understands entirely what it is to be bowed down with grief and sorrow.
This is the mystery of God. While some do get miracles of healing – and I’ve seen many – others continue to suffer badly. In these situations Jesus seems to enter into our suffering rather than taking it away. I don’t know why that is.
One of my frustrations over the years has been seeing many people healed and set free through a healing ministry God seems to have given me, while at the same time I couldn’t get my own wound healed.
If we go beyond the Gospel according Walt Disney, we can see the profound mystery of the wounded healer. There have been many down the ages and even today, a large number of good therapists are themselves wounded healers.
Jesus, of course, is the greatest example of the wounded healer, even quoting a proverb of the time – ‘You will surely say this proverb to me, ‘Physician, heal yourself!’’ Luke 4:23.
I’ve written about my own struggle in a new book Jaded Heart – to be published in a few weeks time. But as I think about Jesus, overwhelmed with sorrow shortly before his arrest, I am encouraged. There is a Saviour who still comes to me, who visits me in the dark times of my soul.
I know so many are facing horrible times just now. I know others, like myself, whose present life is not bad but the past still drags them down. I have no magic wand to take away your pain. But there is great value in meditating on Jesus in the Garden of darkness, and allowing his gentle spirit to connect with our pain. He is the Good Shepherd. He will lead us through to better days ahead.
At the end of May, I will be returning to Rwanda – a place that has known incredible suffering on a scale unimaginable. We will be taking food and bedding to the poor, feeding the hungry and speaking of the Jesus who enters into our world.
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