Matthew 26:41 Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Today started with a bit of excitement. I got a text from our neighbor downstairs informing me that our water was going to be turned off this morning for most of the day. Once I saw the message I jumped out of bed and into the shower. Jeff quickly followed suit once I was done. Since we were going to have no water at the apartment, I decided to have the children do their schoolwork at the FFR Support Center which also allowed me to sort through donations, but as soon as we walked in the door and Jeff left for his hospital shift, I started to hear the complaining. It is like a light switch–they were all in good moods on the walk there but as soon as it was time to work, they went off!
Anjali (sporting her new scrubs) and David walking cheerfully to the hospital before they flipped the switch.
As I read through this scripture reading, I had to refresh myself on the context, so bear with me. Jesus says this to Peter after finding him asleep when Jesus asked him to stay awake to pray with him. Jesus was grieving about His impending betrayal by Judas and His crucifixion and wanted the support of his closest friends. I really had to read through this many times to get a full grasp on what Jesus meant by this and what I came up with was that Jesus understood and lived with the weakness of the flesh, our human shortcomings, but He overcame it by praying to God “And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Matthew 26:39. Jesus understands that we are going to make many mistakes and that we are going to fail to call upon Him in our time of trial because “the flesh is weak”, but that doesn’t mean that we should not still try. It is not easy to be attentive to God’s word and His ways. I imagine that we miss of lot of what He tries to say to us because we are asleep, just like the disciples.
Back to today, my patience with my children was definitely tried today. It started when we did school somewhere other than home and it continued as we went for lunch and some shopping. Anjali actually skipped lunch entirely because she was so upset by the fact that we ate at an Italian restaurant (I mean in tears upset and angry at all of us–she didn’t want to eat here, so how dare we select this place). I tried for an hour to get her to calm down, not be angry, etc. and she finally came around back to her normal happy self. But I tell you, I was definitely exhausted after that. I find it so difficult to stay calm and patient when my children are so irrational, and to be honest there are many times I fail completely at this. Thankfully today I was able to maintain, for the most part, and I am so grateful for the grace God gave to me. I was able to remain calm, encouraging, and patient with Anjali long enough for her to come out of her funk, but this is not always the case. There are many times that I just don’t have the patience for my children being children. It is these times that I can relate to this scripture, I fall asleep and do not keep watch or pray for God to help, my human weakness takes over and I don’t feel the strength of the Spirit.
I guess I take comfort knowing that Jesus understood the shortcomings and failings of His most trusted disciples, so I am confident that He also knows mine. When I am awake and praying I can feel the power of the Spirit, I guess I just need to remember to pay attention to my own “weakness of flesh” and ask God to strengthen me during those times.