Monday, March 25, 2024

Anguish in Gethsemane

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Matthew 26:39 NLT)

As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was in anguish. So much so that Luke’s Gospel says He “was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood” (22:44 NLT).

In addition, Mark’s Gospel gives us a very important detail that we could easily miss: Jesus cried out, “Abba, Father” (14:36 NLT). We might not catch the significance of this. But today it isn’t unusual to hear Israeli children calling out to their fathers, “Abba!” It’s the equivalent of our English word “Daddy.”

There is a difference between the terms “Father” and “Daddy.” Both describe the same person, but they indicate a difference of relationship. That is not to suggest that Jesus was manipulating God the Father. Rather, it indicated intimacy. Jesus was saying, in effect, “I trust You, Father. I know You are in control.”

Then Jesus went on to say, “Everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (verse 36 NLT).

That is a hard thing for many of us to say. We might say the words “Not my will, but Yours, be done.” But do we really mean it? What if His will is different from ours? And how can we know the will of God?

We discover God’s will through careful study of the Scriptures. And frankly, there will be times when we read things in the Bible and think, “Wow, that is hard. I don’t know if I want to forgive this person who has wronged me, but Lord, You have told me in Scripture to do so.”

Or, “I don’t know that I want to break that relationship off with this nonbeliever that I was thinking of marrying. But Lord, You have told me in Your Word to do so. Not my will, but Yours, be done.”

It is okay to think about the future and make plans for our lives. In fact, we should. But we also need to say, “Lord, here are my plans. But if You have a different plan in mind, I am willing for You to overrule what I have decided, because I’ve come to discover that Your plan is better than my own. So not my will, but Yours, be done.”

This is very important to say to God, especially if you’re young. Dwight L. Moody said, “Spread out your petition before God, and then say, ‘not my will but yours be done.’ ” He concludes, “The sweetest lesson I have learned in God’s school is to let the Lord choose for me.”

We are going to have our Gethsemanes in life. We will face times of ultimate stress, moments of pressure that seem to be too much. What will we do then? Will we say, like Jesus, “Abba, Father”? Will we say, “Your will be done”?

Would you let the Lord choose for you? Would you be willing to take your future and place it in God’s hands?

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