When we think about struggles we face, we are often tempted to sulk in our own abilities. This is a normal thing that everyone faces and we constantly are faced with challenges in many directions. We can label these challenges with many terms such as “trauma”, “grief”, “sadness”, “depression”, “anxiety”, “loss”, etc. However, it truly boils down to one key aspect, our perspective. This is not to minimize what we experience, however.
Jesus was about to undergo the most difficult struggle of his life: the crucifixion (death on the cross). Not only was Christ facing one of the most painful and disgraceful punishments ever—he was dreading something even worse. Jesus would be forsaken by His Father (God) in Matthew 27:46 as he took on sin and death for us:
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
As he withdrew to a secluded hillside in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus knew what was ahead for him. As a man of flesh and blood, he did not want to suffer the horrifying physical torture of death by crucifixion. As Son of God who had never experienced detachment from his loving Father, he could not imagine the upcoming separation. Yet he prayed to God in simple, humble faith and submission.
How We Should Live
Jesus’ example should be a comfort to us. Prayer was a way of daily life for Jesus. It wasn’t something he turned to in sad or happy times, it was something he lived out constantly. He even prayed when His desires were in contradiction to that of God’s. This is a great benefit to us, that we can pour out our heart and desires to God, even when we know they conflict with God’s!
The Bible indicates that Jesus Christ was in agony. It states that as He prayed that He sweat great drops of blood (Luke 22:44). This is something I have never seen, nor experienced! He asked God to remove the “cup” of suffering. This was an indication to us that He was in great turmoil and did not want to face the upcoming struggle.
Then He surrendered, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
Prayer is not about bending God’s will to get what we want. The purpose of prayer is to seek God’s will and then align our desires with his. Jesus willingly placed his desires in full submission to God’s will.
God Understands Our Personal Struggles
Choosing God’s will over our own is NOT an easy task. Jesus understands better than anyone just how difficult this choice can be and when Jesus called us to follow him, he called us to learn obedience through suffering just as He had:
Pray honestly, just as Jesus did. God understands our struggles and Jesus understands our human challenges. You can cry out just as Jesus did (even if you never sweat drops of blood). God is bigger than all of our challenges and struggles! He CAN take it.
God’s timing, not mine!
God’s will, not mine!
God’s plan, not mine!
God’s glory, not mine!