Consider a time. A moment. A collection of moments. Desperate for something to change, you have cried out to God. Weary. Full of pain. Burdened to the point of breaking.
“God, please deliver me.”
“God, please change the circumstances in which I currently find myself.”
“God, please heal me. Please heal this person I so dearly love.”
“God, please intervene.”
“God, please change his/her heart.”
“God, please provide in this particular way.”
And then there is SILENCE.
Nothing changes. The pain continues. In fact, perhaps something devastating happens despite your prayers.
It’s in those moments that our enemy quietly whispers in our ears, “God doesn’t really care about you. He doesn’t love you. He’s cruel. He’s not paying any attention to you. If He was listening to you, He would answer you.”
It’s in those moments, that we must remind ourselves of what is true, regardless of how things might seem.
On His way to the cross, Jesus came to the Garden of Gethsemane with His disciples. While there, Scripture says that He was “very distressed” and “troubled,” or translated in the Greek, “astonished” and “overcome with horror.”
Jesus turned to His disciples and said, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death,” which literally means so intensely sad and overcome with sorrow as to cause one’s death (Mark 14:34).
Jesus was intensely aware of the journey that lay ahead of him. As I think about it, I honestly can’t even begin to imagine the amount of pain that He was in. He knew that He was about to endure enormous physical pain, beyond what our minds can conceive, and the extreme emotional and spiritual pain of being separated from His Father as He took the sin of the entire world upon Himself.
And He fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will but what You will” (Mark 14:36).
And then there was SILENCE.
It’s not that God didn’t hear Him. But this dreadful death that Jesus would face was a part of God’s plan to save you and me. The silence was a necessary part of God’s rescue plan.
How did Jesus continue on? Knowing the continued, horrific pain that awaited Him? How, after pouring His heart before God and asking for any other way, did Jesus keep pressing on?
YET NOT WHAT I WILL, BUT WHAT YOU WILL.
Complete surrender to the plans of purposes of His loving, sovereign Father. Absolute trust. Perfect submission.
Friend, keep crying out. Keep telling God how you feel. Keep persisting in your pain asking Him for what you need and desire. We see multiple examples of men and women who did just this throughout Scripture like blind Bartimaeous (Mark 10) and the persistent widow (Luke 18). And then, after pouring out your hearts before God, you must surrender the results. “Not my will but Your will.”
Our Father is a good, good Father whose plans and purposes are for our good and His glory. Even when He’s quiet. Even when we don’t understand what He’s doing. Even when we are waiting in pain and facing a very difficult trial.
In whatever situation you find yourself today, ask God to give you a picture of Jesus in that garden, pouring out His heart before God. Jesus was the all-knowing Son of God. He knew what the answer would be and yet He still asked God, “Please let this cup pass from me.” This is a beautiful picture of true intimacy.
Jesus knows your pain. He has experienced every physical, emotional, and spiritual pain that you have ever and will ever experience. He not only sympathizes, He empathizes.
We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16
And as we draw near, would our heart’s cry be, “Not what I will, but what You will.”
Anchored in Christ,