I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.” (“Jesus Paid It All” by Elvina Hall)
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. (Mark 14:37–40 NLT)
During the most trying night of Jesus’s life, He invited His three closest disciples to watch, wait, and pray with Him. Instead, after the long day, large meal, and late-night hike to the outskirts of Jerusalem they were seemingly too tired to remain awake. The weakness of their bodies prevented them from accomplishing what they likely wanted to do, which was to be with their friend and teacher while He was in obvious distress. The end of Mark 14:40 is telling, “They did not know what to say to him.” They were quite possibly ashamed of themselves, and they almost definitely felt as if they had let Jesus down in His time of need.
There are often times that God asks something of us; it might be as simple as remaining awake and praying with a friend as she wrestles with something deep within her soul, and it might be something larger, like choosing to follow God’s prompting to uproot your life to be Jesus to people in another part of the country or world. After twenty years of praying for God to send life-giving churches to Yuba City, California, all the way on the other side of the country from where they were living at the time, Chris and Laurie Finchum followed God’s leading that they might be God’s answer to their own prayer. They could have followed in the footsteps of the disciples from that night in the Garden, allowing the weak flesh to win out over the desires of their spirits. Instead, they decided to place their all in all in Jesus and moved their family of five nearly 3,000 miles from Florida to northern California because they knew God was leading them to plant what would become Citywalk Church, a community of believers that has already significantly impacted lives for the Kingdom.
Think back on the last time God asked something of you, whether it be large, small, or somewhere in between. How did you respond? If it was out of weakness of flesh, what steps can you take to foster acting on God’s leading next time? If you responded with obedience, celebrate how God used you and consider how you can continue on this path of obedience when next God makes a request of you.