The night before what would become known as Good Friday, Christ was so upset that he sweat blood (Luke 22:44). He knew what the following day held for him, and that it would start in only a matter of hours when Judas betrayed him with a kiss. And in Christ’s hour of distress he knelt before God and asked “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
With this prayer he allowed God to know his heart and wants without demand. He was humble and though Christ wanted to ask for the pain to be taken from Him, He was willing to hear a “no.” And, in the end, not taking the cup from Jesus allowed for the rest of the world to be saved. There was a reason behind God’s “no.” It wasn’t just to be unloving, or to ignore Jesus, or because he didn’t care. There was a reason.
In the irony that is life, it is the day before I have to go to a surgeon in a different state for a surgery consultation. I am twenty-four years old and have “severe aortic regurgitation” due to a “prolapsed aortic valve.” In less technical terms, I was born with a weak valve causing a minor leak of blood to flow back into my heart instead of closing properly and allowing all blood to continue out of the heart through the aorta.
After my husband and I decided to have a baby, more strain was put on my heart to carry our precious girl and it went from being very minor to very severe. If the severe leak was allowed to continue, I would go into congestive heart failure. I was completely without symptoms, and it is by the grace of God that I went into the ER with pneumonia where the doctor said he couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something wrong with my heart. God’s whisper to this doctor effectively saved my life. I am being allowed to have surgery to fix my valve before any damage to my heart is taken.
But I find myself begging God to take this cup from me, even with true evidence I am being watched over. I started wanting to be healed without surgery. That answer was “no.” Now I find myself praying that they can do a thoracotomy (a surgery where they make smaller incisions and repair the heart through my ribs) instead of the traditional route of open heart surgery. But I won’t know that answer until tomorrow.
For now, as I reflect on that fact that God said “no” to Jesus, I must try to find the grace and humility to accept His answer to my own request–especially if His answer is no. I have to trust that, in the end, there is a reason–no matter the outcome.
This isn’t an easy thing to do, but we are called to “trust in the Lord with all [our] heart[s] and lean not on [our] own understanding” (Proverbs 3:6). If there was a reason God allowed Christ to keep the cup, there is a reason he is allowing you to keep yours. Believe in that, and trust in the Lord.
We cannot see what the future holds, but God has seen every day. So do not worry, because “who by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27). Do not let tomorrow’s worry steal today’s love, happiness, and importance. Instead, allow for God to answer your prayers in whatever way he deems fit, accept it, and know that joy will come in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
In your life, have you ever asked God to take a cup from you and the answer turned out to be “no”? If so, how did you handle it?