God’s Strength

An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (Luke 22:43-44)

Here we see a ministering angel sent to strengthen our Lord as He prays in anguish.

“Though assaults be many, and my enemies mighty, if God strengthen me, I have enough to comfort me; for the greater my enemy, the more glorious my victory; and the more glorious my victory, the more triumphant my glory.”
-K.H. Von Bogatzky
The word translated “anguish” is from the Greek word agonia meaning: “A contest, conflict; stress, agony intense inner tension. It has in mind the intense anxiety, dread, or tension one experiences in anticipation of a conflict, as a soldier before a battle or an athlete before a match. It denotes Jesus’ anguished state of mind in Gethsemane prior to the crucifixion. He is filled with dreaded anticipation, not fright or panic, as He faces the epic battle on which man’s salvation rests. In the ultimate conflict of the ages, Jesus will emerge as the Victor” (Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible New Testament Lexical Aids).

I love the fact that God sent an angel to strengthen our Lord! I am reminded of Psalm 91:

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
(Psalm 91:11)

I also love the example Jesus models for us to follow when our own time of anguish arrives–He earnestly sought His Father in prayer. God was His refuge–as He is ours. While Christ was not delivered from His sufferings, He was strengthened and supported under them. We are always given the grace sufficient to meet every difficulty God allowed us to face.

“The will of God will never take you where the grace of God cannot sustain you!”                Anonymous

Oftentimes during trials and calamities it is difficult to remember the promises of God. I have found Psalm 91 to be a very helpful passage of scripture to turn to. Indeed, I have found it to be so profitable in my life I have committed it to memory. I call it the “I will” Psalm of God. In the sixteen verses of this psalm we find the word “will” used over 20 times! It points to God as being our faithful refuge, fortress, and protector as we rest in His shadow–even through our anguishing trials. This wonderful psalm ends with these encouraging words:

“As his sorrow and trouble grew upon him, he grew more persistent in prayer. Prayer, though never out of season, is in a special manner timely when we are in an agony; and the stronger our agonies are the more lively and frequent our prayers should be.”               Matthew Henry

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16)

God rescues, protects, and answers. He is with us in trouble. He delivers and honors and satisfies. Who could ask for greater promises than these?

For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:17-18)

“Doubt not His grace because of thy tribulation, but believe that He loveth thee as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness.”  -Charles Spurgeon

Take It to Heart

“Grief exalts us, and troubles lift us.” (Charles Spurgeon)

“The one who gives the power gets the glory.” (John Piper)

“Peace comes not from the absence of trouble, but from the presence of God.” (Alexander Maclaren)

“Faith raises the soul above the difficulty, straight to God Himself, and enables one to stand still. We gain nothing by our restless and anxious efforts … It is therefore true wisdom, in all times of difficulty and perplexity, to stand still–to wait only upon God, and He will assuredly open a way for us.” (C.H. Mackintosh)