Friday, February 5, 2016
1 Prayer; 4 Truths
Note: this is adapted from my study, Storms of Life.
Jesus was fully man and fully God. As a man, can you imagine the agonizing struggle of facing the cross? Could he have refused? I think that, at some point, the fully-man Jesus had to totally submit to the road to the cross. In this, Jesus modeled perfectly the path we all must walk in total surrender to God’s will, even when it is painful.
When Jesus falls to His knees in the Garden of Gethsemane, we might be a bit surprised at His words. We might expect Him to show His godliness by expressing His courage and joy at the path before Him. Instead, we see a beautiful picture of the humanness of Jesus and His struggle to submit to the torturous hours He faced. Jesus models four truths that help us pray during hard times.
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:36
1. Abba, Father... Abba, an Aramaic word, is an affectionate, intimate name a child might use for his father. We might say Daddy or Papa. In this moment of intense pain, Jesus needed His Daddy! He needed to feel the tender love that He could only find with His Daddy.
"But you received the Spirit of sonship - or daughtership, and by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'" (Romans 8:15, my paraphrase)
In hard times, dwell in this truth: God is your Daddy. He is always there to hold you and to comfort you. It's OK to cry on His shoulder!
2. Everything is possible for you... What an expression of faith! In the dark hours ahead, Jesus would be abandoned, humiliated, tortured, and die an agonizing death. Even so, He expressed complete faith in His Father's control and power.
I admit that deep faith is hard to come by when life is falling apart. Sometimes it's I can do to whisper, "I think I believe, help me believe more!" (paraphrase of Mark 9:24). But when we hand our weak faith to God, He strengthens us. He helps us to rest in His sovereignty. There is great comfort in knowing God is there and that He is in control.
3. Take this cup from me... Does this surprise you? Jesus didn't want to suffer. He'd prefer something else. He wanted His Father to come up with another way to accomplish salvation.
Another way. We all beg for another way when hardship approaches. Several years ago, during a crippling family crisis, I spent many hours face down on the carpet and I begged God to take the suffering away. It's hard to accept that pain is the path He chooses for us.
Don't be afraid to express your feelings to God. Jesus wasn't! God is your Daddy. You can pour out your heart to Him. Cry, scream, collapse in exhaustion. Wherever your heart is, God will meet you there.
4. Yet not what I will, but what you will. With these few words, Jesus, fully man and fully God, bowed in full submission to His Father's plan for the salvation of mankind. Was He overjoyed? I imagine not. But He was surrendered. When He walked toward His disciples and the waiting soldiers, He was strong and focused on obedience.
I'm not sure I can ever pray those last words with the conviction Jesus did. My heart rebels when I hear Him tell me that I must walk through the storm. But my heart's desire is to surrender to Him and He honors that. He comforts me, strengthens me, and promises me His continual presence. God doesn't promise deliverance, He promises His presence.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
Through every word of Jesus' prayer, His eyes were fixed on His Father. He looked to Him for comfort, for assurance, and for the strength to submit. This is the key to our walk with God, through good days and bad. Fix our eyes on Jesus.