Finding Our Hopefuls When Caught by Giant Despair

It’s fascinating here to consider Gethsemane. Jesus’ soul was sorrowful to the point of death. He retreats—but not alone. He takes three friends with Him, and His request is that they remain awake and pray with Him. If the sinless Savior desired community in a time of suffering, how much more do we need friends? And surely this includes our pastors, elders, small group leaders, and those we tend to elevate and distance as more spiritual.

As a member of a church staff and a teacher of women, I have never stayed in Doubting Castle (to say so would be to minimize the torture of those who have), but I have strolled its grounds. I have known sudden and unexpected sadness, and my heart has pounded from the ache of anxiety. In these moments, I long for my Hopeful, a fellow pilgrim who will love me at my best and at my worst. A friend with whom I can be vulnerable and weak and not fear, because their love for me rests on the work of Someone greater than I. I’m thankful to share this level of candor with my husband but my soul yearns for more. I’m praying for friends who will receive me in my imperfection, knowing that another Person has been perfect on my behalf.

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