Are you anxious about upcoming trials? If you are, you’re in good company. When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, the scriptures tell us he felt sorrow and heaviness just prior to experiencing the Atonement on our behalf. In fact, he asked God three times to remove the impending burden. But after pleading for relief from the trial, Jesus told God he was willing to undergo the excruciating experience of the Atonement if God willed it.
I had never pondered until recently Jesus feeling sorrow, heaviness, and a strong desire not to complete the Atonement. Jesus was a perfect (meaning complete) person. He never erred. Therefore his feelings prior to the Atonement could not have been sins. Despite his heavy feelings and the urge to be relieved of his seemingly impossible task, Jesus trusted God and submitted himself to God’s will. Even when Jesus knew God could take away the great suffering ahead, Jesus still submitted his will to the father he loved and trusted. How heavy. How hard. Yet how trusting.
Moving forward, Jesus did not rail at God for allowing the Atonement to the continue. Jesus submitted and endured it alone. Even his friends fell asleep instead of supporting him. Perhaps because Jesus was willing and obedient, God was able to succor Jesus with an angel as he suffered for our sins. It is my experience that when we face our fears, submit our will, and then obey God, he sends extra blessings, particularly when he knows how difficult a trial ahead is.
If Jesus, a perfect, complete person, wavered prior to facing his ultimate trial, then do I sin when I admit I would rather avoid a trial? I don’t think so. Should there be any shame when I feel sad or burdened faced with one of God’s tasks for me? Based on the Savior’s example, I don’t think so.
We are not sinful people if we ask God to relieve us of tasks he needs us to do. Nor are we bad people if we dislike our trials, or we do not want to repeat a trial we’ve already experienced. I doubt the Savior would want to repeat experiencing the Atonement. When we know God has placed a difficult challenge ahead of us, it is OK to ask him to remove it if possible. Jesus did – three times! It is also OK when facing a challenge to experience dread, heaviness, and sorrow.
Where we miss the opportunity to be more like God and to gain his assistance is when we let our shrinking from a task keep us from trusting in God’s will for us and moving forward to do it. Once engaged on God’s path for us, we need to trust him and seek joy as we travel along. If we submit our will and obey his, God will bless us. He will send angels to assist us, especially when our dearest friends seem to abandon us mid-trial, like the Savior’s disciples did when they slept while he suffered.
Let’s accept and acknowledge our feelings as we face a Godly trial instead of hiding our sorrows or feeling guilt over our fears. It is appropriate to discuss our feelings and reservations with God. Then, if facing the trial ahead is his will for us or we must face a trial as a consequence of ours or another’s agency, let us submit our will to God’s as we experience the trial and choose to move forward with God and angels by our side.