Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Shall We Gather At The River"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 22:42-44 – "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. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. (NIV)
We were worming the livestock when the first goat injected began screaming in pain and then promptly fainted. Then, her sister, the next in line, repeated her performance. Alarmed at their reaction, we contacted the vet, who asked us to read the prescription label. Upon doing so, she informed us that the clinic had incorrectly typed the label, and the goats had received ten times the recommended dosage. Fortunately, the goats were unharmed and quickly recovered from their trauma.
The problem with pain is that nobody wants it — not even Jesus, Who prayed on the night of His arrest, before being led to the hill of crucifixion, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me."
Jesus dreaded the thought of what He knew was to come, yet His prayer and this scene in the Garden of Gethsemane have important points to teach us about dealing with pain.
First, Jesus was honest with His Father about the situation. He let God know that this was a pain that He didn't want. Next, He submitted to it: "Not my will, but yours be done." He was willing to embrace the pain; He chose not to run from it but to accept it by trusting that God knew what He was about. And then, something wonderful happened: An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him. The angel did not come and change what was about to happen; rather, he gave Jesus all that He needed to deal with the situation.
Pain is a reality of life. Emotional, physical, or spiritual pain visits all of us occasionally. The question is, what shall we do with it when it comes our way and seeks to rob us of our joy and wellbeing, even our lifestyle and independence? Will we choose to resist and even ultimately run away from God, Who may not seem to be doing anything to help us? Will we, like Jesus, yield and say, "Not my will, but yours be done"? Will we continue to believe by faith that our heavenly Father is trustworthy to supply everything that we need for as long as we need to endure?
The choice is ours: to run or to yield. One leads to further pain, while the other leads to something wonderful. It leads to Christ-like transformation within us. For God has promised that He works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose even amidst, and perhaps especially amidst, the unendurable, and that's a promise that we can count on.
Prayer: Father God, pain is a terrible thing. It saps our strength, hope, and joy. It penetrates our thoughts, words, and actions. Bless those this day who suffer. Grant them Your strength, purpose, and encouragement, that they may continue to endure with the power, glory, and light of Jesus. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.