“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”Luke 22:42
That was my prayer.
Every day for 31 years, that was the prayer that I lifted up to God.
Please, I know You are capable, but if You are willing, please take this pain away from me.
Only thing is, I never- not ever- finished the words that Jesus had spoken.
For 31 years I begged God to remove all of my pain because I could not handle it. I could not handle the emotional and physical pain that came with my life. I wanted out. And when God wouldn’t take away the pain, I made up my mind to take my life away. I felt like He wasn’t holding up His end of the bargain so I was going to cancel my end of the bargain.
When would my time of “promised blessings” come?
Where was God?
Why did I need to live?
Who could possibly need someone as miserable and pathetic as me?
What purpose could I possibly have on this earth?
Serve My children.God
I don’t know about you but when He told me that, I told HIm that I needed a little bit more of an explanation. Like, God, umm, what does that mean? I questioned and questioned God for the past two years of my life and a few weeks ago He finally gave an explanation that made sense.
Serve My children.God
Yall, I’m not even kidding you. God spoke the exact same words two years apart and, while it confused me to no end the first time, I understood it perfectly the second time. You see, during those two years God sent people and situations my way that caused my life to go down one particular path.
Mental Health Awareness.
He made it so that the only thing that I could see or think about was how He had delivered me and how He was calling me to share that same good news with others. It took me years to understand what He meant and fully understand the step that He needed me to take (and the faith that I would need in order to take that one step) but now that I do, I am walking forward with my eyes closed and my heart open.
In Luke 22:42 Jesus cried out to God, asking the Father to let this cup pass Him by. What was the cup? Fierce beating and torture, alienation, cruel treatment, and ultimately death. Jesus- being fully God and fully man- knew what would lie ahead of Him and He still asked God to let it all pass Him by. Christ knew that pain was coming and asked for deliverance… but then He ended His cry with “not My will, but Yours be done.”
If only I had that type of faith! If only I had the courage to truly trust God even when the situation looked less than appealing to me. If only I could just take that first step, trusting God, while being fully unaware of what the rest of the staircase looked like. Whew, if only I had that kind of faith.
But I am human and in my humanness, I have questions and I have doubts. I have a limited view that causes me to think that the things that I see and experience are too big for God to use for His glory. Yes, my humanness causes me to not understand God’s divinity, sovereignty, and full love.
For three decades I thought that God was allowing pain to come my way because He had nothing better to do with eternity. Now I see that God purposed my pain so that I could get to this moment, this precipice moment when I ask you:
What pain are you holding onto? What are you holding onto that has you thinking God has forgotten about you?
And then I offer the comforting answer:
Beloved, He has not forgotten about you. Everything that you are experiencing was designed to draw you closer to Him and prepare you for next. The cup that you bear, I get it, it is hard to hold. You may want God to let you sit it down but I implore you to trust Him. Speak the words that Jesus spoke, declaring God’s will over yours and hold onto Him.
But then, sisters and brothers, I don’t want you to miss what comes in the following verses. Right there in verse 43 we see that as soon as Jesus speaks that prayer to God, God sends an angel to strengthen Him. Did you see it?! What we have to take from this is three-fold:
- God hears all of our prayers, and
- Even if He doesn’t remove the pain or change the situation, He will send His strength, and
- Through it all, God will get the glory.
So as you go through whatever your particular situation may be, cry out to God just like Jesus did. He will hear you, He will answer you (even if you aren’t particularly fond of the answer), and He will send you His strength to endure. Lastly, I don’t want you to miss verse 44. After the initial prayer and after God sent His angel, Jesus prayed even harder. He seemingly had an answer to His prayer but He still called out to God- all the more. That is what we must do, also. We must continue to pray without ceasing as we face the trials before us. One prayer here and there is simply not enough. Like Christ, every prayer is a truly a life or death situation. Pray to our Abba who hears us and will answer our every prayer.
Sweet friend, I don’t know what your next is and I do not know why God has allowed our individual lives to progress as they have, but know that He is right here with you and, though there be pain, it is purposed pain.