One morning our family was reading about the night Jesus was with his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane just hours before his crucifixion. Jesus had asked them to keep watch over Him while He went away to pray, but the disciples fail to obey his request. They repeatedly fall asleep instead.
In our ensuing conversation, we pointed out to the kids how frustrated Jesus must have been. The men he had spent the last several years loving so greatly and so patiently discipling could not perform the simple task of “staying awake” for Him.
As I was driving the kids to school later that day, I started thinking about how I'd been so critical of the disciples and their irresponsible behavior that night in the garden. I had really came down hard on them and gave them a rough time for their inability to just stay awake for Jesus. “Staying awake” seemed like such a simple task to do for the one they had so closely followed and for the one who had been such a perfect example to them of what real love truly looks like.
As all these thoughts were coming to mind, I painfully realized that I am often times just as bad as the disciples. God has done so much for me. He has undeservedly loved me through all my lukewarmness. He has forgiven me more times than I can count. Yet I, too, often “fall asleep” and fail to listen to his teachings or obey his commandments.
But here's the thing. We can find hope in this story. That's because the God who forgave and and redeemed these “sleepy disciples” hasn't changed a bit. The same God who was is the garden that night is the same God patiently waiting for us to wake up and follow him today.