It’s Good Friday, and I don’t wake up early to meet with Jesus. I stayed up late last night and when the alarm called for me to go and be with Him this morning, I turned it off and rolled over, my bed too warm and cozy, my body too tired. I dismiss the invitation and choose temporary comfort. I’ll meet with Him later I tell myself. It‘ll be fine I reassure myself. And I do, meet with Him later. Except it’s not in solitude. It’s not when I felt Him call me to be with Him. I feel like one of the disciples in the Garden. Jesus is human and afraid and overwhelmed with emotion asks them to stay awake with Him. They sleep. Jesus has asked me to be awake and stay with Him. And I don’t.
I sit with this and the meaning of this day and I feel heavy. I want to brush it off because this day means something very good to me and the world. I want to rush through grief and into gratefulness. I want to go paint colorful crosses with my kids and dye Easter eggs. But first I pause. I sit with my Savior, awake to His suffering. This is what we’re invited into as we remember Good Friday.
K.J. Ramsey writes in her book This Too Shall Last (releasing May 2020): “By focusing on [Jesus’] deity, we’ve forgotten his humanity, and in forgetting his humanity, we’ve lost sight of the footsteps that can guide us to hope.”
I receive a spiritual shift as I read her words. I often forget Jesus’ humanity and dismiss His suffering because my focus in understanding this mystery is on His deity. When I dismiss His suffering, I distance myself from Him—I believe He can’t really relate to my pain.
KJ writes, “The faith of someone impermeable to stress means nothing to me. I can’t take Jesus’ faith as mine if I don’t think he really had to believe. I can’t wear the coat of his trust if I think his trust came easy. I can’t experience the crouching dependency of my suffering as the prostration of prayer without beholding Jesus as needy…” … as human. I need to see His humanity and I am.
Can we sit with Jesus’ suffering?
Can we sit with Jesus in ours?
Can we surrender our desire to escape and instead choose to endure?
Can knowing we experience the same emotions as our suffering Savior lead us into hope in ours?
I hope so.
Good Friday Scriptures:
Enter into Jesus’ suffering through each of the Gospel accounts. What does Jesus say and feel? What do you personally resonate with? What does God reveal to you? Does anything here move you closer to Hope?
If sitting with grief is hard for you… This is normal. We feel discomfort because suffering by nature is uncomfortable. If you want to intentionally make space to sit with suffering today or this weekend or any day, I’ve included some practical tips below.
- Go to a quiet place, draw your awareness to the Lord’s Spirit. Pray as you process. What are you here to feel and process?
- Notice the resistance you have to the discomfort. Where do you feel it in your body? Describe how it feels.
- Give yourself permission to cry and feel.
- After you witness the discomfort, welcome it, and sit with it. Notice your body relax. Breathe into areas of tension.
- Ask the Lord what He wants to reveal to you in this space and in these areas of tension that linger.
- Give your feelings time to pass.
- Move into prayer and praise. Turn to the Psalms if you need help finding words.
If the discomfort feels overwhelming, you can use a technique that involves shifting your attention back and forth between distress and delight. Focus for a short period of time on the discomfort and distress and then shift your attention to something more delightful (this could be a comforting scripture in front of you, a photo of your family on the wall, a fresh flower in a vase, or a pleasant memory). Swing back and forth between the pain and something pleasant as long as needed to help you tolerate the discomfort you’re learning to sit with.
Invite Jesus in and consider inviting a pastor or therapist in as needed.
This Too Shall Last: Finding Grace When Suffering Lingers by K.J. Ramsey
Try Softer by Aundi Kolber
Boundaries for Your Soul by Alison Cook & Kimberly Miller
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