Find Strength in the Midst of Distress

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Our culture whispers empowerment and the promise to thrive through movies, advertisements, career opportunities, and bestselling books. Pumped with positive thoughts, we still experience distress. It becomes clear that empowerment is not about strength, but about God’s favor on the humble.

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And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”

Matthew 26:37-38 (New American Standard Bible)

Keep Watch

The night before Jesus arrest, He traveled to Gethsemane with His disciples to pray. He knew death loomed, and he asked his friends to keep watch. Jesus was extremely sorrowful, but His strength wasn’t far—He stepped away, fell on His face, and prayed.

When Jesus returned, the disciples were sleeping. They couldn’t keep watch for at least an hour. Then, He asked Peter:

“Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:41 (NASB)

Jesus left a second and third time only to find them in the same condition—weighed down and asleep.

Why would Jesus ask them to keep watch? He knew a crowd was coming to arrest Him. What were they suppose to watch?

The above verse cautions us to keep watch or remain spiritually awake and alert so we don’t fall into temptation. Our battles are spiritual before they’re physical. A watchful disciple of Christ remains vigilant in prayer for spiritual strength to resist temptations.

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A Humble Prayer

Jesus was humble and sought strength to bear the coming anguish and suffering. He was willing to fulfill His Father’s plan for our salvation, yet He was human anticipating His torturous death.

In contrast, although Peter loved Jesus, he missed the opportunity for true empowerment. His heart was sincere, but his human strength lacked the power to overcome temptation. Peter denied Christ three times when circumstances weighed him down. Our self-reliance often hits a wall of fear when challenges are beyond our resources.

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I can relate to Peter. Fear is a strong temptation. It can sneak up quickly and threaten our integrity, confidence, spiritual security, relationships, finances, health, and more.

I believe Jesus gave us The Lord’s Prayer as a model, so we’d remember to pray preventive prayers:

‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Matthew 6:9-13 (NASB)

A Little “Peter” in All of Us

When I find myself gripped with fear, truth can become dim. Anxiety and worry can camouflage God’s promises. Fear will imply that my situation is hopeless.

That’s when I need God’s intervention. I ask him to help me remain spiritually awake and alert showing me how to pray.

Find Strength in Truth

When we’re fearful, Jesus understands. We need to remember He is more powerful than our temptation. (1 Cor 10:13, 2 Thess 3:3, 2 Tim 4:18, 2 Peter 2:9)

In fact, the Lord is:

Our Deliverer, Psalm 18:2

Our Healer, Exodus 15:26

Our Peace, Judges 6:24

Our Provider, Genesis 22:14

Our Refuge, Psalm 62:8

Our Shepherd, Psalm 23:1

Our Shield, Deut 33:29

Keep praying, “Lord, change me today, so I can become the women you intended, tomorrow.”

When we watch and pray, our mind is renewed, and we’ll find strength in the midst of distress.

Have a blessed weekend.

Marisa Shadrick


Are you struggling to find that consistent sweet spot in your day for personal Bible study. Try my free guide, “5 Tips for Consistent Bible Study.” You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.

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 New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). . LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

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