There was a beautiful red stone nearby, which I almost lunged at to lay my hands on.
Immediately I was in the Garden of Gethsemane beholding the Lord in prayer.
The agony I beheld was even more terrible than the door I had just seen.
Shocked, I jerked my hand away from the stone and fell to the floor in exhaustion.

“What was that back there?” I asked.

“We beheld for a moment the agony of the Lord before His crucifixion, and we felt briefly what He felt that terrible night.
It is hard for us to understand how our God could ever suffer like that.”

The angels’ words were like lightning bolts straight to my soul.
I had fought in the great battle. I had climbed to the top of the mountain. I had become so familiar with the spiritual realm that I hardly noticed angels anymore, and I could speak on nearly equal terms with the great eagles.

Yet I could not bear to share even a moment of the sufferings of the Lord without wanting to flee to a more pleasurable experience!

“I should not be here,” I almost shouted. “I, more than anyone, deserve to be a prisoner of the evil one!”

“No one is here because he deserves it.
You are here because you were chosen before the foundation of the world for a purpose.”

“Thank you. You are helpful. You are right. No one is here because he is worthy.
Truly, the higher we climb on this mountain, the more unworthy we are to be here, and the more grace we need to stay here.
How did I ever make it to the top the first time?”

“Grace,” my angel responded.

“If you want to help me,” I said, “please keep repeating that word to me whenever you see me in confusion or despair.
That word I am coming to understand better than any other.”

“Now I must go back to the red stone. I know now that is the greatest treasure in this room, and I must not leave until I am carrying that treasure in my heart.”

The time that I spent at the red stone was the most painful that I have ever experienced. Many times I simply could not take anymore but had to withdraw my hand.
It was harder to return to the red stone each time, but my love and appreciation for the Lord was growing more through this than anything I had ever learned or experienced.

Finally, when the presence of the Father departed from Jesus on the cross, I could not stand it any longer.
I quit.
The willpower to touch the stone again simply was no longer in me. I just laid prostrate on the floor. I was weeping over what the Lord had gone through.
I wept also because I knew that I had deserted Him just like His disciples. I failed Him when He need me the most, just like they did.




Original posted on 18.3.04


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