Prepare or Beware

Matthew 26:36 – “Then Jesus brought them to an olive grove called Gethsemane and said, “Sit here while I go and pray.”

Growing up on the east coast of Virginia and living many years on the coast in Florida I can remember every hurricane season and preparing for what might happen. Of course, I always hoped that particular year would be a light year and we would be spared from a storm, but you just never knew. So, we prepared the best that we could. I always remember after preparing the materials for our home and stocking up with some essential items we had a sense of peace because we did all that we could to get ready. I remember one particular year; we had a direct hit in Florida. We invited some members of our church over to our home because they lived right on the beach. We had an “Overcoming the Storm Party.” While the storm was barreling down on us, we were praying, playing games, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. Of course, while we were having fun there was a question in the back of our minds, “Are we ok?” We prepared because we knew that storms are inevitable, and one was heading our way. The truth is, in life, you’re either in a storm, coming out of a storm or there’s a storm coming.

Prepare or Beware! 

Jesus tells us in John 16:33 – “I have told you these things so that you can have peace. In the world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus overcame every test, trial, and storm that ever came up against Him. So, it would only be wise for us to find out how He did it.

Storms in life are inevitable! 

In Matthew 26 we find Jesus preparing for the biggest storm of His life. This was the night before His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. The word Gethsemane in Matthew 26:36 means “the place of crushed olives.” And from crushed olives comes oil. In the Bible, many of the references to oil refer to Holy Spirit anointing (the presence of God). We all need our Gethsemane. While in Gethsemane the night before going to the cross, Jesus said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me? Yet not my will, but yours.”

You don’t have to watch the news for very long to see the lack of peace that surrounds us, especially over the last year, with the coronavirus. When you are overwhelmed, what do you do? It’s at those times we must find our Gethsemane. It’s in Gethsemane where God will bring peace and confidence. God understands how we feel and has no issue with us expressing our fears and confusion. It’s during this time of transparency with God that He will ensure us of His willingness to bring His presence, which will always be accompanied with His peace. It’s at Gethsemane that He will reveal His plan and give His grace for us to walk it out. The Apostle Paul said, “for when I am weak, then I am made strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). It is always at this place of being honest with ourselves and God that He reveals Himself as the “All-Sufficient One”. We need to find our Gethsemane, the place of being alone with God. When we bypass God, we try to get from others what only He can provide. This leads to the failure of many relationships because we are placing unrealistic expectations on others. We need to understand that those closest to us, can love us and comfort us. But they cannot pour out the oil (Holy Spirit) and answer the longings of our hearts. Like Jesus, He had to get alone with the Father. It’s at that place of Gethsemane when you pray alone and if necessary, you go on alone by the grace of God to fulfill His plan.

God understands how we feel and has no problem with us expressing our fears.

Luke tells us that in Gethsemane, Jesus was “full of pain” and that “His sweat was like drops of blood” (Luke 22:44). Jesus was in great anguish. But at Gethsemane, He found the peace and strength He needed to go on and carry out the Father’s plan. Like Christ, we too need our Gethsemane, the place of being alone with God. It not only prepares us for the storms of life, but it also gives us peace during the storms.  

Today if you find yourself anxious, fearful, or confused, I encourage you to find your Gethsemane. Get alone and get real with God. He will bring the healing, the answers, and the reassurance of His presence. He promised Jeremiah “I am with you” (Jeremiah 1:8).  Jesus assures us “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20). God guarantees us “I will never leave you or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). In this world, especially now, there is a lack of peace. But He that changes not is always available. He is always our source of peace (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus overcame every storm because He practiced getting alone with God. My experience has been to be prepared or beware. Most of the time most people are trying to play catch up when the storm hits instead of being prepared before it shows up. God’s presence in our lives prepares us for the storms of life.

Prepare or Beware.

My friends in Florida and I survived the hurricane unscathed because we were prepared for the storm. 

My prayer for you today is that you will find that place of peace by daily getting alone with God.

Pointing People to Jesus,

Rocky Byers

“On Earth as it is in Heaven!”