“saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” Luke 22:42-44
Do you ever experience those times when you just don’t want to deal with it (whatever it may be) anymore? I mean seriously, are there things going on in your life right now that have been going on for some extended period of time and you can’t help by cry out to God “ENOUGH ALREADY”? Maybe you are sick and your body is not recovering? Maybe you have been out of work for some time and there are no new jobs in sight? Maybe your spouse has neglected you for too long? Maybe your finances are in despair? Maybe your heartache is just too strong? Maybe a family member is dying? You see, the list goes on and on and at some point, we will all find something we can associate with. Life really hurts sometimes and there are things thrown our way that just don’t make sense. Nobody wants to suffer yet it seems to be a part of who we are as humans.
But look at the verse above in context. Jesus goes up to the Mount of Olives to pray. And while Jesus made prayer a regular part of His life, you get a sense that He had specific purpose behind this one. The weight of what He was facing must have been extremely heavy. I mean think about it. The sins of the world were going to rest on His shoulders. The salvation for multitudes was going to be gained. It got to be so heavy that Jesus cried out to God, ENOUGH ALREADY!
But He didn’t stop there.
He completed His sentence by saying; but if you want me to endure this trial then I will see it through. We would expect there to be this aha moment where Jesus is burdened, He asks God to take it away, God doesn’t, and then there is great rejoicing. But it doesn’t play out that way, most likely because that’s not how these things practically play out in our own lives. We are hurting, we are struggling, and we want God to take it away so we ask. But God says no or sits silent at times and we continue to struggle through it. This is reality. And this was Jesus’ reality too. He asked God to take the burden (coming crucifixion) away if it was His will and it wasn’t so Jesus knew He would have to continue to endure it. This caused Jesus more agony, to the point of sweating blood. So what’s my point? Well two things really.
- When we hurt and struggle it is ok to hurt and struggle. We have feelings. We have desires. Nobody wants to suffer. It feels much better to be in good health with good wealth and have a good relationship with God. It is ok for us to want to feel good all the time but that’s not always reality. When we don’t feel good, be encouraged in knowing there were times Jesus didn’t feel good either. Just don’t let that suffering control your life or your relationship with Jesus. In His time He will answer.
- Even though you may think where your at is enough, God may have different plans. He won’t break you so trust that He has you there for a reason. Could you imagine what would of happened if God’s answer to Jesus’ question in Luke 22:42 was, “ok, I will take the cup from you?” We would all be destined for hell! Thankfully that is not the case. God knew that Jesus had to endure for our sake. There are things that God is having you endure for the sake of yourself or others around you. Trust God. Submit to His will. I can confidently say that He knows much better than we do!
My prayer is that if you are in the midst of suffering right now, you would have someone to practically lean on. If you don’t have someone or can’t find someone then I ask you to follow this link as I would be honored to come alongside you in prayer. The Bible says we are to bear the burdens of one another so never feel scared or ashamed to reach out to others. It’s what God wants!
We know how the story ends with Jesus and it is pretty awesome. As a child of God, your story will end pretty awesome too!
March 8th, 2013 at 7:49 pm
Thank you for the reminder from Jesus’ suffering. It is very hard when it feels like the suffering never ends but gets more intensified even after those times of encouragement. I won’t go into all I have/am dealing with but at times I’ve felt I might be undone. However, I am reminded that Jesus learned obedience through suffering and if He had to learn obedience then I most definitely need to learn it! God has encouraged me right along side a new onslaught of pain, grief and difficult memories. I appreciate seeing that exampled here in Jesus’ experience in the garden. It’s always good to “see” new perspectives on familiar passages. I sometimes marvel at all that has transpired and that I not only have survived but am growing stronger in it. “In it” has been the key. For a long time I kept looking for the end and it never came. It’s “in it” that I am growing, not after it. I won’t lie, I’d like more than a break. I’d rather it stop or at least get easier but I have a feeling my training will give way to a different battle that is just as difficult but hopefully not as personal. I do pray for that. I want to be used in the lives of others who have suffered in the ways I have (or anyone, for that matter!) Hoping the personal battle gives way to a broader work.
I share some of my journey on my other blog – http://www.restoreation.wordpress.com
Thank you for the fresh look. God bless!
March 9th, 2013 at 7:26 am
Thank you for sharing your heart. I will definitely be praying for you. I will also check out your blog.