Luke 22:41 – 44 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Not my will, but yours.
Can I be perfectly honest with you?
I don’t like that prayer. Yes, I want God’s will to be done. I truly do. But sometimes, in order to reach a greater good, we have to go through some pretty hot fires.
I’ve been through some of those fires.
And I’m willing to bet, you’ve been through them, too.
I want to pray, “Lord, I want Your will. But can we just skip the hard stuff and get right to the happy ending?”
Seriously. Wouldn’t it have been great if Jesus could have conquered sin and death, if He could have risen from the grave without having to actually . . . die?
But it doesn’t work that way.
We live in a fallen, broken world. And sometimes, there are hard things. There is pain. There are wounds of the flesh, and wounds of the spirit. And yes, there is even death.
Not my will, but yours.
The hard things I’ve been through can never compare to what Jesus went through, as he was beaten and tortured and spat upon and executed in the most humiliating, painful, shameful death around. Yet, just as Jesus was victorious over death, I can look back from this side of my difficulties and see victory.
Because of the hard things in my life, I have changed. I have grown. I am stronger, more compassionate, more merciful than I was before. I am more of the person God created me to be. And hard as they were, I wouldn’t erase the pain. For through the fire, I have been refined.
Jesus didn’t want to walk through the fire any more than you or I do. He asked His Father to spare Him from that experience. But He was willing to say, Not my will, but yours, Father. For He trusted His Father. He knew that at the other side of the fire was a beauty and a freedom that wouldn’t be possible without it.
Jesus surrendered His will so that you and I could be free from sin, free from ourselves, and have an eternal relationship with the Almighty God.
I can choose to surrender my will so that I can be more of who He wants me to be.
I don’t want the hard things. Time and again, I find myself praying as Jesus did: Father, if you are willing, let this cup pass from me.
But in the same breath, I must be willing to drink from the cup, and trust that God will see me through to the other side of the fires with victory. And just as the angel strengthened my Lord, even as He sweat drops of blood . . . I know God will strengthen me.
Dear Jesus, Thank You for surrendering Your will, for going through the most difficult thing imaginable – all for me. I can’t even begin to comprehend that kind of love. Father, I want to be the person you created me to be – the easy way. Please protect me and those I love from the hard things in life, and let the “cup” pass from me.
But Father, even when I must go through difficult things, I trust You to give me strength and see me through. I trust You to fulfill Your great purpose in me. Not my will, but yours.