Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Abba, Father!

"Abba, Father, all things are possible for you.
Remove this cup from me.
Yet not what I will, but what you will."

These words took on new meaning for me this weekend. Scripture will do that, when you are faced with trials, heartaches, sufferings. Suddenly, Jesus's words resonated with me -- I could pray this prayer also:

"Father! I am your child!
I know that you are able to do anything --
Please, relieve this suffering, this dread.
But -- I ask that You do what you want, rather than what I long for."

We often comfort ourselves with the verse that goes something like this: Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  And of course it is true.  But there are times when God's will is so difficult, such lip-curling medicine, that we cannot make it our desire. We look into that dark tunnel into which he asks us to walk, and everything in us pleads, "No!"

And at moments like that, we are with Jesus. He looked at the cup of suffering held to His lips, and said -- to His own Father! -- "Please, no!" He said it, as a member of the Trinity, privy to divine counsel throughout eternity, knowing the answer already.  The horror of all that sin, plus separation from the Father -- a rift in the Trinity itself! -- was coming.  He could not look at that with any semblance of favor.

But he drank it anyway.  And we are called to do the same. To look at a path in front of us, turn pleading eyes to God, and say, "Your will, not my will." How hard, to know that God can relieve the suffering, can avert the pain, but that He won't! How glad I am that Jesus walked that road before me.

We're on a hard road right now in life.  I saw this road coming almost two years ago. I remember the night I sat on my bed and told God, "No! I don't want to do this again!" Unemployment, uncertainly, running out of money, worry, dependency, anxiety, depression. Sadness. He, my Father, can do anything. He could have averted it. But His will, His wisdom, said, "Walk down that path."

So, we walk.

God the Father used Jesus's submission and willingness, to accomplish the greatest single act of love and mercy in human history. I believe He uses a Christian's similar submission to achieve similar wonders. Will I go through my tunnel of trial kicking and screaming?  I'll go through it just the same.  But the beneficial effects for God's kingdom -- to be a blessing to others -- are only accomplished when we bow our wills to His.  There is a beauty in this submission, although not everyone appreciates it as such. Have you ever admired someone who lives with  a permanent medical condition, or who weathers the loss of a child or spouse, who suffers unremedied injustice, the loss of their home, the death of their dream -- all with a heart of calm and trust?  You are seeing a miracle.

I try to remind myself of these things now.


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