“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” – Luke 22:42.
Jesus did not want to do what God wanted Him to do. After 33 years of life and ministry, Jesus is nearing the completion of His mission. But reaching the finish line was anything but glorious. He was going to be named “King”, but the crown was a crown of thorns. He endured pain and suffering with the weight of the world in addition to the physical pain, He was also going to endure betrayal and denial from His closest friends. Loneliness, agony, and finally death. Imagine how He must have felt as He was just hours away from experiencing all that. He felt like just about all of us would feel. After all, who would want to experience that unimaginable suffering?
So Jesus prays a prayer that makes a lot of sense: “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me…” (Luke 22:42) Many of us can identify with that because we pray that exact same prayer. In that prayer we are asking the same question as Jesus, “Lord, is there no other way?”
Take a few moments and consider what Jesus chose to do when faced with a task that God had given Him. You and I are faced with many tasks, all are immeasurably less significant, but still, cause us the stress and strain of wanting to obey God, but also of not wanting to obey Him at the same time. If obedience to God means that we will likely have to endure pain, change, give up something, or do something that we are uncomfortable with, we usually try to figure a way to do it, but in our own way. Or we simply delay.
Jesus didn’t delay. While He did share His true feelings with His father, He doesn’t say “I’m not doing this.” He doesn’t procrastinate. He simply asks God if there is another way. Jesus prays, “Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” That is an intense prayer. A prayer of commitment. It is not just adding an obligatory “God-willing” at the end of the prayer. It is a representation of a heart, mind, and will that is submitted to the Father. Though He knew that it would be severe and painful, He was still willing to go through with it because that’s what God wanted Him to do. Jesus placed His life in His Father’s hands and is basically saying, “Lord, you know best. Though this thing you are asking Me to do will be agonizing, I trust that You not only have my best interest in mind, but You also have the best interest in the world in mind.”
We need to remember that we’re not working for God. We’re working with God. We are working with a God that can do anything. But He chooses to work through us. Or as Oswald Chambers said, “work out” what God “works in” you. When God wants us to do something we don’t want to do, we can pray for another way, but we must also pray that we are willing to do what God wants us to do.
- Do you think God has unrealistic expectations for us?
- What do you think God wants to do through you? What can you do this week to accomplish what God wants to do through you?