Good Friday

Here in Groningen every year for Good Friday they have an amazing flower market. Both squares and side streets are packed with vendors selling potted plants, cut flowers, trees, shrubs, seeds, herbs…everything you can imagine growing in your home or garden.  It is an explosion of color, people and pollen.

Grote Markt - Groningen April 6 2012

It is a very festive atmosphere and always fun to wander around in.  I don’t believe it is meant specifically as a celebration for Good Friday but it is always a bit odd for me to be contemplating the significance Jesus’ death while being surrounded by such an abundance of life. I have been thinking a lot about Good Friday during this Lenten season and most significantly about how desperately Jesus wanted to avoid the cross but ultimately submitted himself to the path laid out for him.

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26: 36-39 NIV

He prayed that prayer 3 times (on his face) before the guards took him away for the trial, conviction and ultimate crucifixion (the reason for Good Friday). The desperate plea for the cup to be taken has much more significance to me as I walked through Lent dealing with cancer. A difficult thing about the cancer treatment process is that you do a lot of waiting and anticipating for stages to come and pass. Jonathan and I had many conversations leading up to the surgery about how this feels like our Garden of Gethsemane. Where we so desperately wanted the cancer cup to pass us by and to not deal with the surgery, IVF, chemo, radiation, fatigue etc. It didn’t pass and the day came when the process started and we had to begin to walk the path. But our time spent in the “garden” transformed us because through the desperate, authentic prayers where we have cried out from the depths of our hearts…God met us, cried with us and helped us to know that he will sustain us. He knows and understands the anguish in our souls and is faithful to walk with us and carry us when necessary.  We all have things in our life that we wish would pass and roads that if it were up to us we would not walk. Our character is developed in how we choose to face these moments and our faith is deepened in how we involve God in the process. But it is never as clean or simple as these words make it sound. It can be gut wrenching, wall punching, curling up in a ball trying to avoid the world, crying to the point where there are no tears left, having your spirit crushed and not knowing whether you can continue forward…God still gets it…in Gethsemane Jesus’ soul was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”. He was in such distress that he sweated blood. But he was given the strength when he needed it to move forward…

I am thankful for the cross this Good Friday. I am thankful for Jesus’ process leading up to the cross and for his submission to God’s will. I am thankful that he died for me and that in two days we will celebrate his victory over death…and through that victory I can face cancer/life and not be afraid.



6 thoughts on “Good Friday

  1. Lynnea,
    How beautiful! I am so sorry you have to go through this. I pray hourly for you and Jonathan that Jesus will walk with you through this Gesthame. I pray that He will give you everything you need at this moment. I also pray for comfort now and healing in the future.

    Love you,

  2. I’m reminded, as I read this, of something Tim Keller said in “Reason for God”. He talked about how he was thankful that what we know of Jesus before suffering does NOT look like a handful of romanticized, heroic martyrs who sang psalms while being torn apart by lions. He looks at Jesus – the doubt and questions and pleads He had while bearing His suffering – and is thankful for the freedom that gives us to be honest about our struggles before God. We don’t have to be people who don’t feel pain like some of the martyrs… or like Stephen, who seemed so at peace in the final moments before he was stoned to death. Our Lord Himself suffered… actually suffered and doubted and questioned and struggled. This is our ultimate example.

    This cynical, analyzing voice in my head is confused as all hell by that, but every other part of me is thankful.

  3. God bless you Lynnea and Jonathan. Your testimony gives those who read it encouragement and strength to press on, hang in there, fight a little harder knowing that our Father God truly does carry us through. I was 5 when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer stage 4. Given only 5 years to live. My mom was 30 years old. I remember her walking me into my kindergarten class bald and proud on my first day of school. I am a preacher’s kid. We know the fight and the faith and the patience and prayers that you and Jonathan are having to do on a daily basis. My family has been there and still are.

    My mom has battled cancer 7 times since 1975. It has attacked organs one by one. BUT GOD….is faithful and just to see His children through. He honors our faith. That is His promise. My mother is alive today because of her faith and prayers to God. Even still not knowing the outcome of each and every surgery. She still makes her request known to the Lord but asks that His will be done. Currently now, my mom is waiting on results from a mass found in her Pancreas. Lynnea, I told my mom about you. She intercedes in the spirit for you when we have our monthly family prayer meetings. When we prayer for others it gives us strength in our spirit to stand strong for our own needs.

    God bless you and Jonathan. Your faith and heart is definitely in the right place. You Heavenly Father sees that and He is honoring that. The lives you are touching with your blog blesses us more than you know.

    Gwen Coscarelli

  4. What a wonderful post.

    We attended mass last night, Holy Thursday, and will again tonight for Good Friday service; the phrasing ‘desert time’ and ‘trial’ are things I have heard again and again. Your desert time must feel like such a long road, but I have the fullest faith that you will have a day of rejoicing. It may not be on Easter. It may not even be in a year… But until then, know that our hearts are traveling your desert journey in spirit with you, we are praying for you and cheering you on, and will celebrate abundantly with you when your day of rejoicing arrives.

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