“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” John 6:38 ESV
We all look for ways to bypass suffering. I know I surely do. This morning, I’m in the middle of a flare in the eczema I was diagnosed with earlier this year. Eczema, also known as Atopic Dermatitis, is a chronic condition that causes an extremely itchy and painful rash. Yesterday afternoon and evening, and throughout the night as the painful rash kept waking me up, I was definitely looking for relief. But any help from the lotion and prescription meds only brought short term relief.
Looking for a way to avoid suffering is a characteristic common to all humans. Jesus Christ was God in human flesh, and His experience in the Garden of Gethsemane is one of the clearest pictures of His humanity. He wanted to bypass the suffering of the Cross if there was any other way to save us. But the Father’s answer was “No” and Jesus willingly surrendered to the will of the Father.
To get a clearer picture of the struggle Jesus went through, please read the account in Luke 22:39-46.
Jesus understood what it was to let go of His will when it did not line up with the will of the Father. In doing so, He gave us a pattern to follow.
- Jesus told His Father what He longed for – to avoid the suffering of the Cross was His desire.
- He listened for God’s answer – His “No” in this case. The suffering of the Cross was the only way to fulfill the purpose for which the Son of God came to earth.
- Finally, Jesus surrendered to the will of His Father, choosing it and embracing it fully.
As I read in Luke, some verses in Philippians 2 came to mind.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8 ESV
We are called to “have this mind” that Christ Jesus demonstrated in the Garden of Gethsemane. We are free to bring our desires to God, to tell Him what we would like to happen in our current circumstances, but then we need to wait until He reveals His will. The battle is in the wait, in the time between sharing our desires and hearing God’s answer, and then if God’s answer to us is “No” in embracing God’s will with our whole hearts.
When we come to God with a willingness to let go of our right to be in charge and surrender to His revealed will in our situation, we can be assured of God’s presence with us no matter what lies ahead. When we let go, we can be assured that God will never let go of us.