Heart palpitations. Upset stomach. Nausea. Shortness of breath. Intense sweating. Feeling faint, numb. Crazy–out of your mind thoughts. If you suffer from anxiety, you know these symptoms. Jesus wants you to know He totally gets anxiety.
Anxiety in the Garden of Gethsemane
From scripture’s description, we are offered a view of Jesus I hadn’t seen before. His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane identifies what we see as a full-blown panic attack.
Our Jesus totally gets anxiety.
Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.” … he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this… When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said…, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour?” ~ Matthew 26:36-40
Jesus told his friends that he was very sad and troubled and that “my heart is so heavy with grief, I feel as if I am dying.” He felt like he had lost all control and just wanted his friends to stay with him. He didn’t want to be alone. “Can you wait here and stay awake with me?”
The thought that Jesus could have suffered a panic attack never occurred to me until I read Bonnie Gray’s Whispers of Rest.
The overwhelming anxiety of the unknown, but the certain pain and fear of what was to come brought Jesus to His knees. Right to where you and I sometimes have to go, when we don’t know what to do.
Jesus Experienced Severe Anxiety
The level of extreme anguish Jesus felt that night caused his sweat to turn to blood. Hematidrosis is a rare, but very real, medical condition where one’s sweat will contain blood. The sweat glands are surrounded by tiny blood vessels. These vessels can constrict and then dilate to the point of rupture where the blood will then effuse into the sweat glands.
Anxiety is defined as a state of uneasiness and apprehension, especially about future uncertainties. AnxietyBC defines it as an intolerance of uncertainty to the point that strugglers seem allergic to it . They don’t like it when they are not 100% sure of themselves, others, their actions and decisions, or the future.
Jesus pushed through uncertainty
But Jesus, being fully God, yet fully human, embraced his full humanity. The God-nature knew there was no uncertainty. His human nature saw the horrors of what He must endure.
[Jesus] knows He’s going into this combat against Hell—for our salvation, for our souls—and He’s in this great trembling agony, with anxiety facing the pain and labor of the conflict…For in His humanity, Jesus experienced the full weight, the full intensity of what it would mean to die for our sin ~ Nancy Leigh DeMoss
When we read the gospels of the events leading up to Christ’s crucifixion, we see that Jesus and his disciples and friends go from on top of the world, to joyful and thoughtful at a supper, to anxious in a garden, to hurting and despairing on the cross, and confused the days after.
All to be culminated in the beautiful crazy victory of the resurrection on Easter Sunday.
And the beautiful thing, is that Jesus gets it!
Jesus went through all the emotional ups and downs of life and all of its uncertainties. Anxiety, uncertainty, depression, He gets it and he went through them to get to the beautiful restoration of life that was the resurrection. ~Nathan Achterhof
Jesus gets your anxiety.
May our perspective of that dark night in Gethsemane be forever changed.
Click here for fellow anxiety sufferer Brian Johnson’s (Bethel Music) story .