Using Jesus’ experiences in the Garden of Gethsemane, a debut spiritual guide offers instruction and rumination for Christians dealing with spiritual doubts.
In her book, Faulks looks to one of the greatest challenges Christians encounter when their beliefs are tested and they feel God’s purpose is no longer clear to them. This Gethsemane experience, so named for the temptations Jesus himself grappled with as he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before his Crucifixion, is a time when believers will confront pain, humiliation, slander, disappointment, betrayal, and most notably doubt as to the purpose of their ministries. To persevere over this kind of trial is no easy task, as, unlike Jesus, the individuals are not omniscient and cannot know the hearts of others. So instead, the path to becoming a Gethsemane believer focuses on self-examination, utilizing fasting, prayer, and the teachings of the Bible to recognize the sacrifices God asks for and to face these losses with humility instead of bitterness or anger. Ministry is emphasized not as a manner to exalt oneself or achieve personal salvation but rather as a gift given by God that is not to be sacrificed even in times of suffering or inconvenience. The end result, if the believer does not succumb to torment or grief, is a great strength of purpose and understanding of what the faith asks of its followers and deigns their destinies to be. The book is simple in its presentation and execution. It elucidates little on what one’s own spiritual fate will be, as such realizations are personal fare, and instead deftly illustrates the obstacles to its discovery. The biggest of these is “double-mindedness”—a person whose will is not wholly in agreement with God's and whose instability can lead to temptation by Satan and spiritual disobedience. The astute book breaks down concepts of ministry and prayer as actions that do not make demands but rather conform to God’s will, skillfully using well-cited Scripture and providing helpful questions and personal reflections to help strengthen and exercise Gethsemane belief. The work also details what the evidence of success might look like—from answered prayers to more spiritual thinking.
Straightforward and clever in its choices—Christians coping with uncertainties should find inspiration in Jesus' turmoil when facing Golgotha.