The Agony of Agony
Key Verse to Read and Treasure
And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, an began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death.” (Mark 14:32-34, ESV)
To be in agony means to experience extreme physical or mental suffering. Sometimes agony can be part of the final stages of a difficult or painful death. Agony can also come through an experience of mental anguish, intense pain of body or mind, a violent struggle, and oddly enough can also be associated with extreme joy. The longer you live the more likely you will experience some type of agony due to something taking place in your life or even the life of someone you care about.
Jesus experienced physical, mental, and spiritual agony the night before his crucifixion. He was in such deep agony as he prepared for his death, he sweated drops of blood. This intense sweating during a time of agony is a real condition called Hematidrosis and though rare, can happen when people are under extreme amounts of stress. The blood vessels around the sweat glands constrict under the pressure, and instead of sweating water, blood is oozed from the skin.
What a sober reminder that Jesus’ pain did not start when he was nailed to the cross but began long before. Hematidrosis is not only real, but painful and one more way we know Jesus identifies with our own feelings of anguish and deep distress. He knows what it feels like to be in agony to the core of our being.
Remembering that our Lord understands agony can be helpful to us during times we might be agonizing about something. Because we know he knows what it feels like and has experienced personally, we can be vulnerable with him, sharing our feelings and thoughts. We can pour our heart out to him, just like he did with His Father, confident he is not criticizing us for not being stronger or thinking we do not have enough faith, but that he is willing to comfort and strengthen.
More than anything Jesus went through agony so we do not have to, and he wants us to know that although the state of agonizing is not new, we can turn whatever causes us to agonize over to him, assured he will minister to us, strengthen, and help us to get through even the most difficult things we face in this life.
Praying Mark 14:32-34
In this life we will have trouble, but we can take heart dear Lord, knowing you have overcome the world and we do not need to agonize over anything, no matter how intense or mountainous. Help us when we experience this deeply felt stresses and facing things that are threatening to our overall health well being. Amen
Give Jesus those things or situations that have potential to become a point of anguish or agony.