Not My Will

Jesus prayed for a miracle that did not come, once. In his usual place, alone in the dark, with all but one of his closest friends nearby, Jesus knelt down and prayed,

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.

There was no miracle that night. Or the next day. For all anybody knew, Jesus was betrayed, mocked, insulted, abused, abandoned, convicted, condemned to die, tortured, and crucified unto death. Not very miraculous. His friends, family, and followers were devastated. This was not an ending they had prepared for. This was not how the story was supposed to go. From Eden to Gethsemane, one garden to another, there was supposed to be a miracle. God meets with people on mountains.

Except for when He doesn’t.

Before dying, Jesus cried out asking why the Father had forsaken him.
And isn’t that the million dollar question in all of our lives?

Why me?
Why this?
What have I done?
What else can I do?
Where are you, God…

Why have you forsaken me.

If even Jesus could cry out in his suffering, I am beginning to think that it’s time for us to stop shaming others for doing the same. We are promised many things in Scripture, not the least of which would be a cross to bear and a world full of troubles. Following Jesus really IS for the faint of heart, as it turns out. Plastering a smile on our faces and calling a heaping pile o’ crap a pot of gold, isn’t going to make the cancer go away or the spouse come back or the money appear out of thin air. Which is good news if you ask me, because I need a faith that works in the real world. I need a God who shows up in the worst of it, at the funerals and bars and attempted stonings and hospitals and when the taxes are due. Where bad things are bad things and God is sovereign especially in the mess.

Jesus didn’t get his miracle that night or the next day. Instead, Jesus died the most gruesome death possible, right before their eyes. He actually…died. And in their grief his followers buried the broken body of a forsaken savior.

Your Kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven

He taught them to pray that. Then he showed them the way.

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.

I know a lot of people waiting on miracles. People kneeling to pray in agony and in earnest, knowing what’s coming in place of a miracle. Death, loss, grief, failure, pain, abandonment. And I can hear Jesus urging us to stay awake and not fall into temptation in the midst of it. He’s there in our Gethsemane. He’s on that mountain. It’s his usual place, after all.

It’s just that the story doesn’t end there.

No, Jesus didn’t get a miracle in Gethsemane, but his death was not in vain either.

As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11

It wasn’t about a miracle. There was a bigger picture. Jesus was sent for a specific reason and he trusted the Father from start to finish, sweating blood for the agony of it. And I think mostly we know there’s a bigger picture in our own lives too. Even though in the worst of it, it hurts like hell and we may as well be sweating blood for the agony of wanting it to pass us by, feeling forsaken but trying to trust God from start to finish anyway.

The Good News though, is that Jesus did his best work under cover of death and darkness. It is there where 3 days after all hope seems lost, we find the stone rolled away, the tomb empty, and a Savior revealed to us in glory. It is there where we see that nothing is impossible with God. Not one thing.

Jesus prayed for a miracle that didn’t come, once. He kept going anyway. He trusted the Father from start to finish – and what a finish! I can’t begin to say that I’ve got that kind of faith and trust. But I’m working on it. Not my will, but His be done.

copyright (c) 2014 Jenna Pelias // all rights reserved

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