Despair or a sense of distance from God can grip any one of us. Sometimes it is because we have begged God repeatedly and nothing has changed. At other times we believed we were following God’s will but it has become too difficult. We want either our circumstances to change or God to change his mind.
It is not hard then to empathise with David in Psalm 13 as he repeatedly asks, ‘How long, Lord?’ v1,2 David asks questions we understand: ‘Will you forget me forever?’ ‘Must I wrestle with my thoughts?’ ‘Will my enemy triumph over me?’
Jesus on the Thursday evening went to Gethsemane with his disciples and prayed a similar prayer. One record of this is Mathew 26. 36-46. There Jesus wrestled with his thoughts in prayer and as he did so he asked his closest friends to pray with him. Matt26.37 If Jesus felt the desire for companionship in prayer how much more should we be prepared to wrestle in prayer with others. It is something very many, even longstanding Christians, shy away from but it is a vital ministry. How good it would be if our church was an easy place to find supportive prayer partnership.
David v2 and Jesus 26.37 experienced deep sorrow in prayer. Both were in a battle with an enemy, Psalm 13.2 and Matt 26.45. Both were facing death, Psalm 13.3 and Matt 26.39. Both had enemies who would rejoice at their death. Psalm 13.4 and Matt 27.20.
However, they also both shared a willingness to be obedient to God’s will and to trust in his unfailing love despite the depths of their emotions. David said, ‘I trust in your unfailing love, my heart rejoices in your salvation.’ v7 Jesus said, ‘My Father, if this cup cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.’ Matt 26.42 Whatever we face this Easter, Jesus has gone before us and so our hearts can rejoice in his salvation and we can, ‘sing the Lord’s praise.’ v6
I had not heard this Gethsemane hymn before but it beautifully captures the spirit of Maundy Thursday.