ODJ: turning to friends

October 21, 2014 

READ: Matthew 26:36-39 

He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me” (v.38).

Redwood trees can grow to incredible heights—some reaching more than 375 feet! Yet most redwoods have a shallow root system that typically burrows less than 10 feet into the ground.

So how do the massive redwoods stay upright? What keeps them from crashing to the ground, especially when strong winds blow? Their secret is that they depend on each other. Although redwood roots aren’t deep, they spread out more than a hundred feet from their bases and intertwine with the roots of other redwoods.

In a way, these tall trees are like friends who turn to other friends in their time of need. They don’t stand alone. They don’t isolate. They reach out and weather the winds of life together.

One of the clearest examples of this found in Scripture occurred the night Jesus was arrested and betrayed (Matthew 26:36-38). That night, Jesus and His disciples walked to an olive grove outside Jerusalem. Jesus fully knew the awful “cup” of suffering He was about to “drink” (v.39). At one point He turned and said to three of His disciples, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me” (v.38).

In other words Jesus shared with His friends the depth of anguish He was feeling and then told them what He needed: “Stay here and keep watch with me.” He needed His friends to be with Him and to pray as the dark night unfolded.

Jesus wasn’t being selfish or weak. Nor did He isolate Himself. Along with praying to His heavenly Father, He opened up to friends about His feelings and needs so that they could best know how to support Him in His time of great distress. Turning to godly friends can help us continue to stand tall for Jesus. —Jeff Olson

365-day plan› Acts 9:20-31

Check out the needs Paul expressed to Timothy during a time of great distress (2 Timothy 4:9,13). 
Do you believe sharing a need is selfish or weak? Do you tend to isolate yourself when you’re in need? What choices can you start making to challenge these beliefs and patterns?