Tuesday's Reading: Matthew 26:36-56
You are with me in this moment
You have led me to this place
Though the darkness ‘round me closes
I will hold to hope by faith.
Late one evening in the winter of 2015, as I sat at my piano, out came the lines above. I often can’t articulate what’s happening at a soul level in my life. I’m usually clueless as to what God is doing in me during a particular season until long after it’s over. But over time I’ve realized that many of the songs I write come from that place inside that I can’t seem to access otherwise.
Far before I could understand it, I wrote this song about what I was experiencing. Later, I came to recognize that season as what St. John of the Cross (16th century Catholic Saint and poet) referred to as a “dark night of the soul”; a time when the consolations of faith are withdrawn. Though I had been walking with God as faithfully as I knew how, He had led me to a dark and lonely place. Life didn’t feel abundant, and I couldn’t see joy. All I knew was that He had promised both. All I could do was “hold to hope by faith.”
As He walked into the garden of Gethsemane the night before He was crucified, Jesus entered His own experience of the “dark night of the soul.” The Scriptures tell us that His soul was in anguish and He was overwhelmed with sorrow as He knelt to pray. In this desperate time of need, His closest friends couldn’t even stay awake to pray. The reality of loneliness on the path of personal calling was evident. There was only One who could know the depths of what Jesus was going through; only One who would walk with Him all the way to the Cross.
So, as the weight of what was to come began to settle on Jesus’ soul, He turned to His Father. In His Father’s presence, Jesus was reminded of His purpose. In the security of the Father’s love, He found His strength.
And even as He struggled with the reality of what He was facing, Jesus believed that the Cross would not be the end. Death would not have the last word; Life would. Resurrection was waiting. The dark night would eventually give way to the dawn. Hebrews 12:2 tells us “for the joy set before Him He endured the cross.” Though the pain was seemingly unbearable, the resurrection life we have received as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice made it all worth it.
In His darkest hour – when all other consolations were stripped away – Jesus turned to His Father. In His Father’s presence, Jesus was reminded of His identity and purpose and received the strength to continue by faith down the path toward new life and promised joy.
This week we invite you and your family to take a trip with us. Place a suitcase/bag where it can be seen all week and each day we will add a new item to it. For parent introduction and a list of items to be gathered before you begin, visit Journey with Jesus.
Day 3: Journey with Jesus
Add to the suitcase: a juice box and some crackers.
Read: Mark 14:22–24
Process and discuss together:
- What does this tell us about Jesus?
- What does it tell us about ourselves?
- How should we follow Jesus today because of this scripture?
- Who could you tell this story to?
- Parents, please share with your children when you placed your trust in Jesus. Do your children have a faith story yet? With each child, talk through what it means to follow Jesus. Scripture declares: If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Read Romans 10:9.
- Pray together.