"'Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.' An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him"
Faith in God, in Jesus, can feel the toughest during times that challenge that very faith. Recently I was able to walk at the beginning of a journey with a family that has and will continue to challenge them and attempt to shake them to their core. The hopes and dreams that are a part of bringing in the first born seem to vanish before them as quick light bulb that has burned out, leaving nothing but darkness that the eyes have yet to adjust to. As we gathered together, there were many questions that surfaced. "Why?" It's a question that has universally plagued the world many times over as people, good people, God-fearing people, have faced such a place of challenge. Even during that time, there were prayers, many prayers that were lifted up to the Creator of the Universe; prayers of healing, restoration, and even resurrection! To no avail? It would appear that way. But wait. There is so much more to God and to the plans of God that we just cannot understand. And when we come face to face with these twists, turns, and pitfalls on the journey, He is there. He comforts. He holds us. He holds us together.
Jesus poured Himself out before the Father. he knew what needed to be done, and He knew what it would fully entail. And, in His humanity, He asked God if there might be any other way. It wasn't His desire to encounter the weight of the sins of the world, to experience the full force of the humiliation, the mockery, and the ultimate betrayal and rejection that was surely to come. However, He did not beg or complain. He vowed His own faithfulness to the purpose and plan of the Father. He surrendered His will - His choice, determination, preference, purpose, desire, pleasure and inclinations for that of the Father. This had not been the perfect plan of the Father. Sin was never to be a part of the existence of creation, but choice was. Choice brought pain. Pain brought consequences. Jesus came to bring restoration and redemption. But, it would cost Him. He surrendered to the journey that God had called Him to. And, at that moment, God sent an angel from Heaven to strengthen Him - to revitalize, to reinvigorate, to prepare Him to stand up and persevere the path He was to travel.
There are times when we ask God for another way. We pray and ask Him to make ways, open doors, close doors, and perform miraculous works of breakthrough. Never-the-less, it is not our inclinations, pleasures, preferences, or purposes that's going to lead us. It's surrendering to God, through Jesus Christ, in spite of all that hurt and don't understand, knowing that His love is greater, will comfort us, hold us close and together, and, in time, bring the restoration and healing that we are increasingly desperate to receive.