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
I can remember praying this several times regarding James…Lord, please, fix him or take him, but nevertheless, not my will but Your will be done. You may have prayed the same. You have pleaded with God, begged Him again and again to take the pain away, resolve the conflict, or answer your prayer, with seemingly no response. I prayed for seven years that God would heal my marriage, bring James home, end the conflict and turmoil and at times I wondered if He even heard my prayers. He would give me enough hope to hold on just one more day; sometimes it was hour by hour. Many times, I would cry out, I am done, I don’t want to do it anymore, I give up!
I find comfort to see that Jesus struggled in a similar way. In the Message version of the Bible, Matthew 26:39 reads this way, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?” Have you ever felt that way? I would think you could relate as well. We face many types of challenging circumstances in life, some short term; speaking in public, an exam, a dreaded conversation with someone and some not so short term; financial trouble, relationship conflicts, health issues. In all of these, if we had the choice, we would bail. Admit it, we hate turmoil. But for the Christian, after the storm, I often hear you say, looking back I would do it again because my relationship with God is so much stronger.
The other comfort I find in Jesus’ words in Matthew 26, is verse 42 when He prays basically the same thing again. And if that’s not enough, in verse 44 it says that He “prayed the third time, the same thing.” Sometimes I feel like I am bothering God, going back to Him over and over with the same request. Does He just sit on His throne shaking His head saying “here comes Tina again, blah, blah, blah, I know what she is going to ask me for the umpteenth-millionth time.” Of course not! God loves when we come to Him. Here is the truth: Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4. “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:7-11
I will leave you with some homework. Read the Parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18 and remember 18:1…”Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”
May God answer all your persistent, fervent, righteous, prayers, in Jesus Name, Amen