As much as I like to think that I am tough, yesterday I found myself getting nervous sitting in a dermatologist’s chair. I was there for the simplest of procedures, a procedure in which a specific spot of my face would be numbed and the tiniest incision would be made.
Yet, while I laid back in the chair waiting, I found it hard to be laid back. I was actually quite surprised by my discomfort, not with my reclining physical position but with my declining mental disposition. I had been fine all morning, but then suddenly, I wanted out. Out of the blue, I began to contemplate the knife, which I knew would be small, but still sharp. It may sound dramatic, but before long, my thoughts were about the seriousness of death and the reality of our fallen, weak bodies.
My mind became consumed with the weight of the wait. A brief moment, seems much longer when the gravity of life is setting in. The fifteen minutes before a knife is life’s longest quarter.
So in that position, eyes toward heaven, I prayed. I simply needed to lay my thoughts before the throne. I needed to acknowledge my weakness, especially in light of the true toughness of Christ. I needed to contemplate the real-life experience of the Savior.
Oh Jesus! How long must that full hour in the garden have seemed to you?
How long was the expectation of crucifixion?
How long the anticipation of abandonment?
How long the foresight of forsakenness?
How heavy was the gravity of sin?
How grave your heaves of prayer?
How weighty your wait!
Then when the hour was finally finished, it simply led to a full night of dread.
And how long did that overnight mockery seem? Isn’t is true that a mock trial determined to mock justice mocks the clock as well? The clock claims constant progress, but always moves in subtlety. How much more paralyzing to the face when the hand is frozen in crime?
And then, unlike my experience of the knife, brief and without sting, your experience was everything you had dreaded. My momentary weight turned out to be light, but your evening wait turned out wrath in the light. The night of dread became that dreadful day. And everything you had feared became fierce reality.
Did it seem like forever? That morning of violence.
Did it seem like forever? That moment of sentence.
Did it seem like forever? That movement of sacrifice.
When you finally arrived at the top of that hill, did it seem like forever?
When the darkness returned in the middle of the day, did it seem like forever?
When you were lifted up, did it seem like forever?
How can they say that you suffer continually in the mass when you already suffered eternally in the moment? The immeasurable relationship between you and the Father must have infused that temporal moment of broken fellowship with an immeasurable sense of duration. It must have been a moment filled with forever.
And now forever must be filled with that moment. It was a moment that passed, yet it is a moment that lasts. Yours was the anticipation and realization of the knife that cuts through time and creates life.
So Jesus, thank you for experiencing real dread and real grief. And thank you for my moments before the knife, brief–no matter how long they seem. And when the knife finally comes you have taken away the sting.