“Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” Luke 22:46
I hate being broken. Feeling broken. Admitting I’m broken.
Last month I caved and did something awful. Regret set in as my husband said he was disappointed in me. My chin quivering, I abruptly got up, telling him I was going for a walk.
My natural way of doing things is to drown in shame, living in that dark place. I usually shut down and am good for nothing.
But God doesn’t want shame-filled people who are good for nothing.
In Luke 22 Jesus, knowing the cross was near, told His disciples to pray so that they didn’t fall into temptation. Off he went to do his own praying, kneeling, begging, receiving strength, praying more, anguishing more, sweating like He was bleeding.
That’s how Jesus prayed against temptation.
But when He returned to His disciples, He heard snoring. No soft whispers or murmurs to God. Just sleeping men, broken, exhausted from sorrow.
As we keep reading, we see the results of their napping. First, it led to an impulsive, ungodly reaction. “…one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.”
Perhaps, if this broken follower had prayed through his sorrow instead of sleeping, perhaps he never would’ve lashed out.
Perhaps, if our broken selves prayed through hurt, anger, and fear, perhaps we wouldn’t lash out in harsh social media posts, or fire off retaliation texts.
Perhaps we wouldn’t snap at our teen whose choices are killing us; or unleash wrath on husbands – ex husband? – who shatters our trust again. Perhaps.
The second result of sleeping instead of praying was poor, broken Peter. He went with the crowd. “Peter followed at a distance.” At a distance. How often do we follow God at a distance?
Peter, the guy who once impulsively jumped into the water to be with Jesus, now won’t even get close. Suddenly, it’s too risky. Suddenly, Jesus doesn’t look safe.
Peter denies Him over a few hours. A couple of times it says things like “a little time later” and “about an hour later”. He didn’t see the need to leave the crowd or his own weakness ASAP. He stayed.
Perhaps, if he’d prayed instead of slept, he would’ve seen the crowd wasn’t right for him; that he didn’t have the strength. Or perhaps he would’ve had the strength because he prayed.
Perhaps, if we prayed through our pain we would see places we shouldn’t go; where God is steering us away.
Or perhaps we’d be brave enough for where He’s steering us to.
Perhaps, we wouldn’t follow Jesus at a distance but rather by His side, holding His hand, walking in step with Him.
But after his third denial of Jesus, it came down to verse 62: “…he went outside and wept bitterly.” This is the best verse ever, filled with hope. Why?
If it hadn’t, perhaps he never would have run back to Jesus’ side.
Or perhaps he wouldn’t have gotten the chance to tell Jesus how much he loved him on the beach later.
Or, worst of all, perhaps he wouldn’t have gone on to be the rock on which Jesus built his church.
I’m so thankful Peter was broken and wept bitterly.
It’s okay to break and be broken – whether forced on us or self-inflicted. You may be shattered as you read this.
As hard as it is to choose, we need to pray instead of sleeping in sorrow. Let the brokenness break us and then let us run to Jesus.
God is always looking for more rocks on which to build His church. Our broken self is exactly what He’s looking for.