Inspire, Winter 1997

'NewsPublication for Cedarville College Alumni S r WINTER 1997 Becoming A Gethsemane Christian I t wasjust after midnight when our pastor's phone rang."Pastor,there has been a terrible accident down the road.I think the Haffeys were in one ofthe cars." At the hospital,our pastor learned that our son Sean, 11 months old, had died of head injuries. He asked the church to pray as he waited to tell me of my first-born's death and of my husband's enslaving coma.He asked the church to pray that I would healfrom injuries which could be permanently crippling. And the people responded.They prayed through Sunday school and bathed the worship service with prayers. When they arrived home,they called others to pray,forming a network of prayers for the Haffeys that stretched across America. Through our heartbreak,one ofthe comforts which God used to lessen our sorrow was the watchful care ofChristian friends. It was not always easy for me to ask for comfortfor myself,nor was it always easy for others to give the time and attention I so needed. Yet as people followed the simple pattern given by Christ in the garden ofGethsemane,my grief became easier to bear. The greatest sorrow and agony of all history was suffered by Christ in that garden. Matthew 26:37-45 teaches us how to help bear another's burden ofsorrow. Christ wanted His friends to do three things: to understand His suffering,to stay alert throughout the ordeal,and to pray. First, Christ explained how he felt, so that the disciples could begin to understand:"My soul is deeply grieved to the point ofdeath"(vs.38). Jesus admitted His sorrow and the pain He felt. Then He said,"Stay here and keep watch with me"(vs. 38). Asking another to keep watch with me required that I explain my feelings. I needed to admit that I was heartbroken to lose our son and our life as it had been before the accident. Admitting our feelings humbles us,so that in the humility of the brokenness,God can make His grace available. Humility also allows us to ask others to keep watch with us. During recovery,I was forced to accept the help ofothers which was something I was neither accustomed to nor enjoyed. But through the experience I learned two profound character- building lessons.I experienced first, the restoring power which came when I was forced to recognize that I needed the help of others,and second,awe at the cohesiveness ofGod's love which would lead others to help me. There were many Bible passages which were of healing comfort to me,repeated by friends who loved God,knew His Word,and thus loved me.And some ofthe greatest comfort which my husband and I received came when friends would take time tojust talk to us ofour son—things they remembered about Sean,stories we did not know of his life until our talk. Understanding includes letting the suffering one talk aboutthe pain—the loved one lost, the disappointment in goals,the future destroyed. Repeatedly,Christ asked His three friends to stay alert throughout His ordeal in the garden.Staying alert throughout another's trial is difficult,for it requires personal sacrifice from us. Thinking and caring for others' concerns is not natural human behavior. continued on page 1 Bearyeoneanother's burdens, andsofu011thelawofChrist. Galalians6:2