Through Good Fridays
It’s no secret that foster care involves many challenges, and it should come as no surprise that foster parents go through seasons of grief and difficulty. It leaves me wondering, “Where is the holy in the hard? How do we faithfully walk through these seasons?” As I’ve set aside time to reflect on Jesus’s sacrifice and prepare my heart for Easter, I’ve been contemplating his holiness in his season of grief and difficulty. Just like every other season of his life, Jesus modeled the way for us to handle circumstances that feel overwhelmingly challenging.
Stay The Course
“When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, “As you know, the Passover is two days away-and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” Matthew 26:1-2
“Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.’” Luke 22:7-8
Jesus knew the time was drawing near when he would be arrested and put to death. He knew that powerful people were conspiring against him, and he understood what had been predicted in the scriptures. Despite the heavy burden of that knowledge, Jesus carried on with the tasks God had set before him. He continued to teach his disciples. He continued to observe his religious traditions. He continued to go to God in prayer. Jesus did not allow fear, anxious thoughts, or worry to distract him from the path God had placed in front of him.
In the same way, we strive to faithfully follow God no matter what circumstances or uncertainties surround us. We continue to love the people he’s placed in our lives. We continue to answer his call to care for the vulnerable in our communities.
Don’t Go Alone
“They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took Peter, James, and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,’ he said to them. ‘Stay here and keep watch.’” Mark 14:32-34
Jesus was perfect and still, he didn’t try to complete the task God had assigned to him by himself. He invited a close circle of friends to work alongside him. They ate together, worked together, laughed together, and cried together. And when things got difficult, they faced the challenges together. In the most excruciating moments of his life, he asked his friends to sit with him and to pray with him.
There is something deeply holy about community and friendship. When we choose to care for one another and support each other through various seasons of life, we are following in the footsteps of Jesus. We are showing the world what it looks like to be a part of God’s family.
Go With God
“Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible, the hour might pass from him. ‘Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’” Mark 14:35-36
I love this portion of the story. I’m so thankful to see that Jesus, even Jesus, was overwhelmed by the task set before him and to have this example of how he handled extreme emotions. He didn’t try to hide his feelings from God or downplay how much he was struggling with his situation. The Bible says that he was so distressed, he sweat drops of blood. Jesus freely admitted his desire for God to find another way to accomplish the task. In the end, however, he put his trust in God. He laid aside his emotions and moved ahead with confidence in God’s plan.
Like Jesus, we can turn to God in honest and vulnerable prayer, telling him about our fears, uncertainties, concerns, frustrations, and grief. We can have the faith to trust him in these seasons knowing that his plan is always to bring joy in the morning. We can let Jesus’s radical love comfort us and motivate us to radically love others.
Of course, we know the end of the story. We know that Jesus’s season of difficulty was temporary…that it wasn’t long before that season of grief was replaced with an incredible season of joy. But Jesus had to walk through the season of pain first.
On this Good Friday, I pray that we will go through our difficult seasons with God. I pray that we will go through these difficult seasons in community and friendship. I pray that we will stay the course in order that every child in foster care will know the joy of a safe and loving home and experience the love of God’s family.
“After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. For you have given him authority over everyone. He give eternal life to each one you have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life-to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.” John 17:1-5