by Louise Tucker Jones
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. Luke 22:42 NIV
When I read of Jesus’ last moments at Gethsemane, as he prayed for the Father to remove the bitter cup that lay ahead, I weep and even identify. That almost sounds blasphemous to say I identify with Jesus, but wasn’t that one of His purposes? To endure pain and suffering, so we might know that He understands when we are faced with the same?
No, I have not been asked to suffer on a cross for a world of sin. Only Jesus has done that. And it is through His death and resurrection that we have eternal life. But we will have problems on this earth. Jesus tells us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NIV) None of us are immune from pain or suffering.
And I doubt any of us can understand the loneliness that Jesus felt during such agonizing prayer that He sweat drops of blood, then found his friends sleeping. But because of this, He knows how we feel when we are betrayed or try to pull friends along for support in the midst of our crises. And often, like the apostles who napped while Jesus prayed, our friends don’t understand the magnitude of our pain. They have their own lives and problems, so they often retreat, leaving us feeling alone and hurt.
Prayer is truly all we know and all we can do in some situations. It’s the best thing to do. I know what it’s like to pray all night for something to change—for a child’s fever to break or an illness to leave. For teenagers to be kept safe when they are out after curfew. I’ve prayed long and hard prayers for a prodigal to return and a rebellious spirit to be subdued. And I definitely know the deep grief of sitting beside a loved one on the brink of death, praying that this day or night would not be their last breath. I want the “cup” to pass and life to go back to normal. And when it doesn’t happen, I want ready answers.
But sometimes those answers don’t come. We pray. We ask. We plead. But the answers evade us. They lie in unknown corridors of time until God is ready. When this happens, it is often all we can do to hold onto a scrap of faith lest we plummet into a pit of despair. When there is no rescue, and it is just God and you in the dark of night. When the answer is not what we want and our hearts are broken, may God give us the faith and courage to do what Jesus did. To lift our hands toward heaven and receive the cup as we plead, “Thy will be done!”
Lord Jesus, thank you that you understand our deepest heartaches and greatest sorrows. Thank you for loving us through the dark times as well as the good times. May our souls rejoice in You!
About the author: Louise Tucker Jones is the author/coauthor of six books, including the Gold Medallion award winning, Extraordinary Kids. She has published hundreds of poignant life stories in anthologies, magazines such as Guideposts and thirteen Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. Married for 45 years before her husband, Carl, relocated to heaven, Louise is the mother of two children on earth and two in heaven. She is a grandmother, great-grandmother and professed chocoholic. LouiseTuckerJones.com
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