Thoughts of a messed up Christian saved by God's grace

Monday, April 6, 2015

Take this cup from me

It is a yearly tradition for most of my family to go see a Passion Play in Austintown, Ohio. It is very well done, and helps bring the whole reason for Easter home. I always walk away with something new from the Easter story, and this year was no different.

  The scene that stuck out to me this year was when Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. The man playing Jesus prayed the words we all have read so many times in the Bible " Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.

  I have read that verse countless times in my life, but it hit me in a new way Saturday as I sat in the darkened church watching the Passion Play. It it me that I too have a cup of suffering, I have prayed and prayed, begged God, cried, yelled at God, only to not have it taken from me. And I am not the only one. We all have our cup of suffering that we'd rather not have. Most or all of us have asked God to change us or a situation, to heal, to move and change someone, and it never happens.

The woman with an unsaved husband who fights her daily about her Christianity

The missionary couple far from home and loved ones, seeing no fruits, but still feeling the call

The grandmother who never gets to see her missionary grandchildren and children

The Christian facing a life of celibacy and loneliness if he doesn't give into his same-sex attractions

The older Christian with the onset of Alzheimer's

The childless couple who are heartbroken and infertile.

  And the list goes on and on.

  We have somehow gotten this idea that the Christian life is sunshine, roses, and rainbows. Maybe we all have a little bit of Joel Otseen in us. Yes, God can deliver, heal, change situations and hearts.....but He doesn't always - at least not in our timing. Every human being is going to have troubles and trials, and Christians don't get an exemption. In fact, some of our troubles and trials come because we are a Christian.
  Jesus didn't have to go through with it. He didn't have to die for a world of sinners, most of who would never worship or acknowledge Him. But that was the only way to save the world. He knew what it would cost, what He was going to go through, so the human side of Him asked for His Father to get Him out of it, but if it was the Father's will to go through with it, He was willing.

 I for one, have spent a lot of time bellyaching and whining about my "cup". Paul prayed three times to have his thorn in the flesh taken away, but I have bypassed him many times over in asking God to take away this cup of suffering.

  If I wasn't a Christian, if I didn't have the desire to serve God, it would not be an issue. But if I want His will, and not mine, I have to do it this way.

  What if Jesus had said "wait a minute,,,,, I agree something needs done here, but this whole scourging and cross thing..... that is more than I am willing to go through. Let's find an easier way." It seems ridiculous, but so is any of us thinking we know better than God, and thinking He is going to make our life rosy and easy and that we will always be on the mountain top. Thankfully, there are times in our life when it is easier and we are on the mountain top, but a lot of us have a "cup" that we must drink from often, some of us daily.

  We must all come to the place that Jesus did. Pray if it be God's will to remove it, and it not, His will be done.

 I'm getting there. Maybe it is because I am getting older and getting used to it. The idea that this will never entirely go away isn't as horrifying and hard to handle as it once was. The idea of just surrendering it to God and letting His will be done comes a lot easier than it did years ago.

  Serving Jesus is all about surrender, denying ourselves, and taking up a cross..... and drinking from a cup of suffering, If we truly live for God and not ourselves, that is the way it will be.

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