“There he told them, “Pray that you will not give in to temptation.””
It’s just so tempting.
Cracking the ice on the puddles, I mean.
This time of year, nightly frosts bring mornings replete with a lovely assortment of puddles covered with ice. Some crackles. Some snaps. Some is brittle and lacy. Some will bend with the weight of your boot, sagging with the pressure, until it breaks with a tinkly glassy sound.
All delightfully and maddeningly impossible for a child to stay away from.
I know the drill.
You creep around the edges, testing the strength and composition. Smash! Crunch! You wander away, satisfied.
Only to return a few minutes later, checking for any unbroken patches you may have inadvertently missed.
I still find my boots drawn to an especially lovely patch of icy temptation once in a while, even at my age.
At least that sort of temptation doesn’t involve anything more serious than the odd wardrobe change. No moral failure or character degradation here.
But – we all know there are areas in our lives that draw us like a kid to a puddle.
With more serious consequences for a lapse in self control…
We all have our ‘thing’ that calls to us like breaking the ice.
So this gem of a teaching from our Lord Jesus on the night He was betrayed and arrested us quite the bombshell.
He knew what was ahead of Him – the agony which waited just around the corner – and wanted His closest friends to stay up with Him and pray.
He could have used a little emotional support right about then, to be sure.
Yet His buddies, human as they were, kept falling asleep. And I can’t help but wonder – if they had taken His advice to heart and stayed up praying, would they have run away and deserted Jesus when He needed them the most?
We’ll never know.
But I love this idea of ‘banking’ strength on the good days, to prepare for the bad ones. See, if I spent as much time praying that I wouldn’t fall into temptation as I do complaining after I’ve made a poor choice, I might just come out on top instead of caving.
I know my own weaknesses. I know them well. I wonder what would happen if I dedicated even ten minutes a week to praying that I would stand and not fall where temptation was concerned. Perhaps I’d have better footing. Perhaps I wouldn’t crack like that ice on those all-too-tempting puddles.
Pray a cover around your weaknesses this week with me?
Father, You know us so well. You understand our tendencies to crack under pressure better than anyone. Help us to stand up to whatever it is that fights to gain control of us. Remind us to ‘bank’ prayers against the day that we are weak and have a harder time saying no. Amen.