Once upon a time a man named Gary was feeling dejected and filled with despair, with the strong need to prop-up his self-esteem. So he decided to attend a local church service each Sunday morning. As expected, he found the members at this church to be kind, loving people, who always came to his side to support him.
Gary was told at the church that God loved him and because of that he was important to the world and the Divine Plan. Gary’s confidence and self worth grew with each passing week within this wonderful atmosphere of love.
After about six months, the church minister delivered a sermon that raised profound questions in Gary’s mind. The sermon addressed the topic of humility and the personal challenge of accepting the spiritual concept that only the Lord God represented true life and reality.
At the end of the worship service Gary approached the minister with a nagging question. “Reverend, I am most appreciative of having joined this church. Everyone here has been extremely supportive and made me feel special. But after hearing your sermon how am I to reconcile my newfound feelings of self-worth with the ultimate truth of my inner ‘nullity’?”
The minister quickly smiled as if Gary’s comment was unexpectedly refreshing. He answered, “In spiritual salvation one must be reborn. But to be reborn requires a kind of spiritual death. Spiritual death requires killing off any notions we have about our own self-importance.”
This answer caused another question to enter Gary’s head. “How do I participate in such an anti-intuitive undertaking when my reason for joining this church was a desire to feel important and needed?”
“Ah-h,” said the minister, “you are treading in an area where few choose to go.” The minister turned his gaze towards a wall of the church and asked Gary, “Do you see that large wooden door over there?”
Gary turned his head to look and said, “Yes, how could anyone miss it?”
“Sadly, not everyone sees that door,” said the minister, slightly shaking his head. “To see that unique door one has to have a special understanding and willingness to enter into a new stage of spiritual growth. That door leads to the ‘Gethsemane’ Room.”
“Wasn’t Gethsemane the place where the Lord suffered overwhelming sorrow to the point where He prayed to be released from His destiny with death?” replied Gary.
“Yes!” said the now visibly animated minister. “The term ‘Gethsemane’ means ‘olive press.’ This is the place where the Lord Jesus was being ‘squeezed’ to make a final choice between going through with His dreadful execution or passing the cup. Each one of us has to ultimately make a similar decision in our lives to consciously face ‘spiritual’ execution and death.” The minister then turned his head again toward the special door as if suddenly noticing something.
Gary turned his head as well and was shocked at what he saw. An angel of light emerged from the door and flitted directly towards Gary.
“I am here to take you into the ‘Gethsemane’ Room!” said the beautiful angelic being to Gary.
Gary nervously followed the angel to the special door and when it was opened Gary saw a universe filled with untold numbers of stars and galaxies. The angel took Gary’s hand and led him through this unimaginable immensity.
The angel then said, “to properly enter the ‘Gethsemane’ Room you must first find true humility. By escorting you through the universe you can get a visceral sense of your unimportance and your nothingness compared to all this. Now, take into account that God and His heavenly kingdom are infinitely greater than even the physical universe!”
Suddenly, as if by magic, Gary found himself at the threshold of the dreaded “Gethsemane” Room. It was full of people that he recognized. But instead of individuals who would offer him kindness and support, each one of them represented someone who had annoyed and aggravated him in life.
“It is easy to love those who support you and are nice to you. But true spiritual love is unconditional,” said the angel. “This special room will put you on the fast track towards salvation because it will intensify your personal challenge of finding spiritual humility by enduring those who belittle you and who offer you the greatest opposition. “
“But going into that room would kill me,” argued Gary.
“Precisely,” countered the angel. “That is what constitutes experiencing spiritual death. It is only through intentionally suffering real opposition in life that the qualities of your heart and mind can be made known, transforming you from a ‘nothing’ into a ‘something.’”
The angel looked intently into Gary’s eyes and said, “Please enter. It is now your time to be ‘squeezed’ — to see what you are really made of!”
Gary “gulped” and realized that Sunday church worship would never be the same again.