"Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?"
The disciples fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane. They were supposed to be waiting for Jesus. Supposed to be keeping watch for Jesus. Their spirits were willing, their bodies weak.
As Jesus groaned in anticipation, prayed for the cup to pass, and submitted to the Father's Will, the disciples closed their eyes and slept.
I recently read a story Kay Arthur wrote about this very verse. She was tired and not feeling well on a teaching trip to Israel. In response to an acquaintance, she wanted to respond in her flesh. She struggled to not respond in her sinful nature. God intervened and amazingly she was able to witness in the face of this temptation to sin. As she later stood in the Garden of Gethsemane and read these verses, she deeply understood the truth of Jesus' words. "Could you not keep watch for one hour?" Is it so hard to keep watch for one hour?
Matthew 26:40-41 "So you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."
I got on my treadmill yesterday afternoon for a whole whopping twenty minutes. I was tired...a little frustrated. I stared at the Bible memory cards on my treadmill and decided I'd rather let my thoughts wander. I'd rather let my mind go into that closet in my head where I hold memories, the past, blessings, curses, fears, temptations, idols. I go there when I'm tired, insecure, bored, anxious, sick, angry...Does everyone have one of those closets in their mind or it just me?
I sorted through the closet and came upon a past event where I still harbored some "what if's?". Yes, this one. I'll choose to think on this one while I run. I thought through the past and people involved. Got myself worked up a bit (it did help energize my running!). What if this situation had gone differently? What if? What if? What if? They weren't healthy "what if's" that spur you on to make changes. They were those "what if's" that leave you saddled and burdened by the past.
I hopped off the treadmill after 20 minutes feeling physically rejuvenated, mentally drained, and spiritually lacking.
I think God might have whispered to me. Could you not keep watch with me for an hour? In this case, twenty minutes. Could you not keep watch with me for 20 minutes?
The spirit is willing, but our bodies are so ridiculously weak.
I think I understand that verse a tiny bit better. Or I understand the disciples a little better. This life is but a breath when we consider eternity. Can we not keep watch until He returns? Can we not guard our thoughts, our hearts, our bodies while we wait for Him?
The next time I'm tired, hungry, and frustrated...the next time my mind wants to hide a while in its secret places, I'm praying God whispers that question to me...Can you not keep watch with me for an hour?