October 23: Surrendering to God’s Will

Read Matthew 26:36-46

Up to this point, the ministry of Jesus seemed to have focused on the needs and struggles of others. Selflessly and sacrificially, He gave attention to those around Him. But here in this tender Gethsemane moment we get a brief glimpse of the sensitive combination of the seemingly contradictory fact that Jesus was 100% human and 100% divine.

Having left the Upper Room, He now led His posse of sobered apostles to this quiet garden. Eight of them were asked to wait while He prayed. Three of them were invited to go further with Him, to watch, and to pray.

With the three, He shared His anguish that reached to His very soul. Though they likely did not understand it and though we cannot fully fathom all of His despair, it certainly included the anguish of the death He was to endure, but, deeper still, the wrath of God that was to be unleashed against Him as the perfect sacrifice for a sinful world. Surely, none of us can grasp the full gravity of what He felt deep within.

And then, it was with the Father that He shared His request that reached to the heavens. The first part of the request is obvious and easy to voice. “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” When seemingly faced with a health, relational, circumstantial situation that is undesirable, this is the prayer each of us lifts up. Rightfully, we come to the Father who is mighty to save.

But it is the second part of this prayer that is unnatural and difficult to embrace. “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” What if – and we hate even the thought of it – what if it is God’s will that we not circumvent the situation, but that we go straight through it and all of the undesirable aspects we assume to be part of it? That requires deep surrender and a tenacious grip on His faithful hand!

Can you pray that prayer with sincerity? Do you need to?

sbk

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