During the sacrament hymn at church today, a young child in our congregation started getting fussy, something not unusual on Sundays.
He started quietly, and grew increasingly louder in frustration. By the time the blessing for the water came around, he was still crying with his full, tiny lungs. The parents to their patient credit, were trying fervently to calm their tired and upset child, but to no avail.
I’ll admit, I was a little distracted, and wondered why the parents hadn’t taken him out to the foyer yet.
All of a sudden, he stopped crying, the blessing and administering of the sacrament was over, and during the next few minutes, I was gently and quickly reproved and taught by the spirit.
“Tyler, can you recall a time when someone else was crying out in frustration, calling out for relief and peace, but nothing could be done, only enduring to the end?”
My thoughts immediately turned to the Garden of Gethsemane where we find the Savior suffering for our sins, feeling and experiencing every negative emotion:
The aloneness and emptiness of losing a spouse, not knowing how to go on without them, angry at God for taking them away from you. Frustration, as a single mother loses her job while taking care of 3 kids, never getting sleep, not getting that 2nd job interview. Wearisome during the first few months of chemotherapy, a young wife tries to comfort a newly diagnosed husband with cancer, trying to stay strong for the both of them. Anxious, the heavy load of taking on too much responsibility at work and school, a father beats himself up for not being there for his wife and kids enough. Depressed, a divorced woman feels ostracized by her ward and doesn’t want to come back; gets trapped by anger, eventually turning to pornography for some kind of release, all of these and infinitely more are things the Savior has felt.
Amidst all of this unspeakable horror and feeling of overwhelming despair, the Savior “then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
…..And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me….”
Mark recounts the events as the Savior being in agony, and sweating great drops of blood. What Mark recounts next is crucial:
“And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee…..nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” Abba, in Hebrew means “daddy” or an innocent way of calling out to a father.
The Creator of this world, the Prince of Peace, the Firstborn of the Father, was so overcome with pain and emotion, that He cried out. He had nowhere else to go, He could have stopped what he was doing because of His Godlike qualities, left the Garden before He was finished, and that would have been the end of it.
He went back 3 times after resting and finished the work He knew had to be done so that when it came time for a couple who lost their baby unexpectedly, when it came time for siblings to cope with the mental loss of their mother due to dementia, when it came time for a family who lost not only their home in a house fire but their youngest daughter as well, when it came time for a man like me who’s spent a good portion of my adult life either on an operating table, or spending nights at a hospital, and developed severe depression often wondering if there was any point to live anymore, He would know how to succor us.
There are numerous accounts of the Savior shedding tears for the ones he loved- Fiding out about Lazarus being dead, discovering that His cousin John was beheaded, weeping over the children in the Book of Mormon, and the greatest tears of all, suffering for our sins and pains in Gethsemane. He has such a perfect love for us.
It is a love that not only gives us hope, but gives us strength that we didn’t have before in times of trouble. A love that defies all understanding and comprehension, infinite and eternal in its spectrum.
The lesson learned for me today opened my eyes. The next time I hear a child cry out in sacrament meeting, my thoughts will turn to the Savior.