“My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.
Stay here and watch with me.”
Mark 14:34 NLT
“My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.” Is it even possible to read those words without feeling their phenomenal weight?
One of my favorite Bible verses used to be “Jesus wept” (John 11:35) because it was the most relatable thing I’d ever known about Jesus. He wept, he felt pain, and he felt grief. I weep, I feel pain, and I feel grief. These solemn common grounds gave me relief and comfort. (I know… I’m kind of dark. Let me remind you – it’s MESSY worship.)
But this week, as I read Mark’s account of Jesus’ life, I was really, really moved by his words on the night he was captured. He knew that pain and suffering that was ahead of him as he called together three of his closest friends. He could’ve done anything in those last few hours of freedom; he chose to spend it in prayer.
He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he began to be filled with horror and deep distress. He told him, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me.’ He then went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by.” (Mark 14:33-34 NLT)
He was SO REAL with his friends and SO REAL with his Father. He didn’t play macho man; he also didn’t turn the situation into a pity party. He told his friends exactly what he was feeling and asked them to simply stay here and watch with me. Stay here and watch with me.
I’ve asked for the same thing when I’m grieving. (Granted, I definitely wasn’t as concise or precise as Jesus’ words when I asked.) But when I was at my lowest, I wanted two things:
- “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.” Hear how this feels. Understand there is something HUGE going on here – far bigger than what your eyes can see – and try to feel the weight of this crushing grief. Know me in this moment.
- “Stay here and watch with me.” Watch. NOT talk with me. NOT walk with me. NOT cry with me. Watch. What a deep, deep comfort it is to know that someone close to you is willing to witness even the darkest moments in your life. To simply be there – not to advise or protect – but to watch. Watch what God does with this! Watch this miracle unfold. Witness my grief – be with me in my sorrow. Witness God’s grace – be with me in my healing.
If you’re hurting right now, try Jesus’ way – find a person who you trust and tell them how your soul feels. Then ask them to stay and watch as you wrestle with God about it.
If you have someone hurting in your life right now, offer them time to speak authentically about their pain. Offer to stay and watch the whole story unfold.
It doesn’t seem like much, but it might just be the difference that you – or someone hurting – needs to realize they’re not so alone in their grief.
Dear Lord, open my eyes to the ones in my life who are hurting. Help me to see clearly who I can stay and watch with. Keep me from offering unsolicited advice and instead just be present to listen and witness your power and love in their darkest moments. Thank you for wanting the authentic mess we often are and staying and watching with us every moment. Amen.