For these dark Lenten days, a few words from Rev. Gardner C. Taylor’s sermon, “Gethsemane: The Place of Victory.”
We greatly need somebody to whom we can reach out in the hope that there will be acceptance and perhaps understanding. If Jesus with all of his strength needed that, then we do too. “Our lives through various scenes are drawn.” There are dark nights of the soul, times of testing and loneliness. We need someone to whom we can turn and hope for a little encouragement and a little cheering along the weary way.
Jesus exposed his heart to his disciple and revealed his lonely need. Dr. Alexander Maclaren expressed the opinion that the Lord may have been the loneliest man who ever lived and loved people. He tried so hard; they understood so little. There was this need in him of some soul to stand close. If that be in you, do not call it foolishness; your Lord needed that. It was said of his very selection of these men that he chose them “that they should be with him.” The dear Lord had so few, really. Does he not still have so few? One looks out upon any congregation of people and wonders how many are really with the Lord? Does there blaze within you or me the desire to be well-pleasing to him, to hold up his arm, so to speak, in this world which hates him and always has hated him, in this world so prone to scorn his way? Will you hear the Lord of your life and mine saying, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: Tarry ye here, stay with me and watch with me”? Tarry and watch with me (Matthew 26:38).
Do you not understand that? Have you never been to that place? It is the place where we seem to have done all that we can and then find that it is not enough. It is the place where we have spent ourselves and apparently in vain. If only someone would just come up to us then and put out a hand or say a kind word. “Watch with me, stand with me, sit with me a moment,” we want to say. Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, author of On Death and the Dying and one of the world’s outstanding authorities on dealing with dying people, says that people who are critically sick and who are facing death may just need someone to enter their room as a human being, not claiming to have the answers. Such a person, says Dr. Kubler-Ross, may need more than anything someone who will simply ask if there is anything the critically sick person wants done. In other words, our greatest need in extremity is to have someone to be with us, whether or not there is anything that can be done for us.