"Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Matthew 26:39
It's a hard portion of scripture. The anguish in the garden. Those He counted on were mere humans and asleep. He anguished to the point of sweating blood. I don't like it. My Savior--all-knowing--knowing what was to come. It was part of the Plan, yet He struggled with the anticipation, with acceptance. He was fully God, but He was fully human as well.
Yes, it's hard to read. Even harder to see depicted. I want to fast forward to the resurrection, to the defeat of pain and death and evil. To the Hope. To the realization of the Big-G-Good. Yet, I miss out if I fast-forward. I miss out on the hope in the midst of the torment of the garden.
Jesus asked His Father if this cup may be taken from Him...Jesus Himself asked this.
When we were going through my infant son Aidan's illness and death, I remember many moments when I anguished. When I didn't want to be brave. When I didn't want God's comfort in the midst of the pain...I wanted the pain to go away. I wanted the cup to be taken from me, from Aidan, from my family.
And I felt guilty. Deep down I wanted God's Plan, God's Good for my life. But when being brutally honest, I did NOT want God's Plan for me to include losing a son. The Liar was there to tell me that I must not really love God, that I wasn't satisfied enough with Him to accept His will.
Then my Lord gently pointed me to the Garden. To where He asked the same thing--please, if there is any other way to accomplish Your purpose, Lord, take this from me.
I find great comfort in knowing that even Jesus felt this way.
The key is that He didn't leave it there. We know He went on to say--but not my will, but Yours. And so did I. So do I.
I don't want my own will (sometimes I think I do--that's for sure!). I want God's Good. For me, for those I love, and for His Kingdom. And sometimes God's Good is hard.
But in the garden, for a brief moment, He asked for a way out of the hard. It's OK when I do too. There is no guilt in wanting a way out. Jesus' example is there.
As long as I am resigned to God's will and not my own. And through the tears, the anguish that this life sometimes brings, I can freely ask for relief, for another way. Jesus did.
Current struggles are not as intense as losing my son, or some other life-alterers I've faced. But I have the same feelings of wanting it to go away, and the brief guilt for not accepting. For wanting things to be different. The garden reminds me.
I can rest in knowing a loving Father hears me and loves me and hurts for me in my pain. He sees it. He is not offended at my desire for the pain to pass.
And He rejoices in the offering that doesn't come from feeling--not my will God, but Yours.
Yes, there is Hope in the garden.
This post is linked up with other Holy Week reflections at Holy Experience.