Daily Devotion for July 2nd, 2020
Mark 14:35-36 HE went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground. HE prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting HIM might pass HIM by. “ABBA, FATHER,” HE said, “everything is possible for YOU. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want YOUR will, not mine.”
I love the implications of this scripture. Here's the background: The Passover dinner is finished. JESUS predicts Peter's denial. The disciples and the SON take a walk to an olive grove called Gethsemane. JESUS prays there. HE prays because HE is filled with horror and deep distress over the coming crucifixion and the resulting spiritual separation from His FATHER—the spiritual separation will come as a result of HIS carrying the sins of the world. HE's so crushed with grief over the upcoming events that HE is at the point of death (Mark 14:34). Is HIS heart on the verge of stopping due to the sheer horror of the events to come? Does HE, as the CO-CREATOR of everything, force HIS human heart to keep beating so HE can fulfill His FATHER's will? In HIS agony, HE prays to His FATHER and asks HIM to “take this cup of suffering away from” HIM (Luke 22:42). JESUS prays so fervently, HE's in such agony of spirit, that HIS sweat falls to the ground “like great drops of blood” (Luke 22:44). Our LORD is in incredible distress.
What can we take away from this?
- Sometimes GOD assigns us very hard stuff. JESUS was assigned the most painful, horrifying task of all time: to live a sinless life in complete obedience to His FATHER so HE could then die for us (a horrifying death!) and pay for our sins. If you have a situation you are facing, a job the LORD has assigned you and you do not want it...you are not alone. JESUS understands.
- We can beg GOD to step in and miraculously change our circumstance! JESUS did! “FATHER, if YOU are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from ME” (Luke 22:42). We can ask as JESUS asked, because we are GOD's children now—JESUS' death made it possible. So, feel free to follow JESUS' example and ask our ABBA, FATHER, for a different outcome, a different GOD-assignment.
- We need to accept our painful GOD-assignments that don't go away, just as JESUS did. JESUS said “Yet I want YOUR will, not mine” in Mark 14:36. Can we say that, like JESUS did, when faced with a GOD-trial? Can we, like our SAVIOR, accept that GOD's ways are higher than ours? Do you humbly say “YOUR will, not mine,” when you may never understand in this life the assignment HE has given you? Our suffering (if not caused by our own sins!), can be for HIM, and there is no greater privilege! Philippians 1:29 says “For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in CHRIST but also the privilege of suffering for HIM.” Moreover, our difficulties are good for us--”they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation” (Romans 5:3-4). When we suffer in our GOD-assigned trials, it has these cleansing benefits: a) It takes our eyes off “earthly comforts” and exposes them for the trash they really are; b) it weeds out the superficial stuff and people in our lives; c) it strengthens the faith of those who endure; d) it serves as an example for others to follow. Moreover, we need to consider that when we suffer hardships (not brought on by our own sinful stuff!), GOD is verifying that we have been faithful! It shows GOD loves us and is taking us to the next level in our relationship with HIM. These painful GOD-sent trials are to test our “faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—and your faith is far more precious to GOD than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when JESUS CHRIST is revealed to the whole world” (1 Peter 1:7). “So be truly glad! There is wonderful joy ahead, even though it is necessary for you to endure many trials for a while” (1 Peter 1:6).
Thank YOU, JESUS, for YOUR perfect example in how to face our painful GOD-assignments. We don't like them, LORD! They hurt! Help us to remember that 1) sometimes we get assigned some pretty painful stuff; 2) we can ask GOD to change the situation (YOU did!); 3) when our trials don't go away, they are meant to strengthen our faith and they allow us to join YOU in YOUR suffering—what a great privilege! We love YOU, JESUS. Give us YOUR strength and courage to face and accept any situations Your FATHER places us in today! AMEN!!!