Facing Loss: Wait, Watch, Pray
This is the busiest time of the year when exhaustion takes a toll on us physically and, therefore, emotionally. It is a time we need to pace ourselves to prevent forgetting the why of our activities. We celebrate the birth of Jesus because He is the Savior of the world, Emmanuel, God with us. He was sent for a purpose that we must not forget as we become entrenched in the holiday spirit. It is not about us; what parties we attend, what gifts we buy and receive. It is about the greatest gift ever – the birth of our Savior. As he came for us in life, He will come again for us in our physical death.
Everything Jesus said and did on earth is a lesson for life. Even as he went to pray before He was captured to die on a cross, we find a lesson in His words to the three He took with Him, Peter, James, and John.
“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38 ESV)
He was talking about the human spirit and body. Jesus knew the effect facing loss of a loved one would have on the human nature, so he encouraged them to watch and pray. Be alert to what is around them and pray for Him and themselves. They were given a caregiver role for the moment, but they failed. They fell asleep when they were supposed to be carrying out the mission Jesus had given them.
The body is weak and can easily fall into the temptation to quit what we are called to do and to do what is easy. The three disciples’ bodies wanted rest from the denial, anxiety, and uncertainty of knowing when Jesus would leave them. You could say it was a way of escape from reality. Peter went so far as to deny Jesus would leave them, but no one can stop what God has put in place, yet we can be alert and pray for the one we care for.
Believers can fail to complete their calling by giving in to physical needs and desires and giving up on their God-given responsibilities. These verses in Mark 14:32-42 were an encouragement to me today to stay alert and pray in a time of facing loss, and to continue the work God has given me in serving His purpose. As I have faced the days of my husband's declining health in hospice care, there are days I want to quit my God-given mission, but prayer and God’s word have pulled me through – every single time.
The holidays can be a difficult time for those facing loss. Let us be alert to those who are not jolly, even though they may be filled with joy in sorrow. Pray for those who are hurting even when they don’t appear to be.
I know that just as Jesus miraculously came to earth as a babe, He will miraculously come again. We begin this season celebrating who He is as we wait in anticipation for His coming to take us home to be with Him forever, whether by death or by raising us up to meet Him in the air. Either way, we are blessed. In the meantime, He is with us in whatever season of life we face. God with us, Emmanuel.