I’ve written often about how we friend fear as a way to control our worlds. As a way to try to control the outcome (as if).
The opposite of love is fear as 1 John 4:19 teaches us. Jesus is all about love. So how can he feel fear?
Because Jesus was as human as you and I are human. I believe that as a doctrine to be true. Yet Jesus didn’t befriend fear like we do as a means to control our worlds. Or because fear feels responsible.
This is what Jesus did to fear. I love this visual. I think of it often when I’m praying and I feel fear creeping in.
In the story of Jesus this night stands out because Jesus becomes an emotional mess. You can feel his anxiety. His hesitancy to obey. His loneliness. His vulnerability.
And he sweats drops of blood.
This is an actual condition called hematidrosis. (Thank you, Google.) Hematidrosis is a condition in which capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands rupture, causing them to exude blood, occurring under conditions of extreme physical or emotional stress. Severe mental anxiety activates the sympathetic nervous system to invoke the “fight-or-flight” response to such a degree that the blood vessels to the sweat glands hemorrhage. (Thank you, Wikipedia.)
Jesus must have been under extreme fear, stress, anxiety, and experiencing fight-or-flight. Doesn’t his prayer of “Take this cup of suffering from me” poetically say, “I can’t do this, get me out of here?”
Yet Jesus keeps in his emotions and keeps going back in again and again to pray with God, plead with God, wrestle with God. He’s not numbing himself. He’s not keeping himself crazy busy easily justified by being about “his father’s business.” He stays in all of his feels so that he can know know know that God is with him. And can bravely go forward. (Thank God because Jesus’ move forward gave me the gift that changed my life dramatically.)
Knowing Jesus experienced this depth of fear, I pray, takes away Satan’s ability to shame you over your own emotion of fear.
Our goal cannot be to rid our lives of fear. Or befriend fear by believing it is responsible.
Our goal is to love. Love is simple. Love is complicated. Love does not control the outcome. Love is vulnerable. Love is going to hurt. Love is beautiful.
Fear is a squished dead snake next to love.
Love is overcoming. And that’s what Jesus did that one night.
Jesus is so beautiful with his scars and squished snake guts on his feet.