Remove This Cup From Me
“Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me.”
This is Jesus’ prayer, as it’s recorded in the Gospel of Mark, while he is at Gethsemane, and I think also a prayer many of us have been silently praying for the past month.
Remove this cup from me.
The cup that Jesus is referring to here is the cup of suffering that he is about to gulp down. A cup that is filled with not only physical pain, but also emotional and spiritual. Jesus knows the fate that awaits him, and he’s pleading with God to spare him from it.
Similarly, I think that as a nation we have been able to watch and see a fate that very likely awaits us. We’ve watched as the Coronavirus wreaked havoc on China, and devastated Italy in ways we never imagined. Sometimes it’s a lot scarier to know something bad is coming than it is to be caught completely off guard.
Like watching the water recede before a tsunami, we saw the approaching wave…
And like Jesus’ we began to pray, please Lord, remove this cup from me. But I think sometimes we forget the crucial second half of Jesus’ prayer: “Yet not what I will, but what you will.” This is where Jesus’ humanity and divinity meet in an utterly mysterious way, because the complete humanity in Jesus is screaming, PLEASE GOD NO, but the complete divine nature in him says, but I trust that you know best.
And the still crazier part is that neither of these responses are wrong!
Seeing what suffering lies ahead and crying out to God, please take this from me, is not a wrong response. He hears those prayers, and I would even say he desires them from us! But at the end of the day, God’s divine plan will be accomplished. No matter how badly Jesus wanted to escape the pain and suffering that awaited him, he still practiced trust and obedience, knowing that what God willed was right.
And what came out of Jesus’ obedience was rebirth. Resurrection.
From the ashes of pain, suffering and death, God brought forth an abundance of new life!
It’s my opinion that God never wills suffering or pain on anyone, but that he can always redeem it and bring new life from it.
So in this season where it looks like, for many of us, there may be great suffering still to come. Remember it is never wrong to desire that God would take our pain away. It’s never wrong to cry out and plead that this cup would pass from us, but also remember that God’s master plan will be done. And while God does not cause suffering he will, most assuredly, cause new growth to spring up from the ashes.