And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me, yet not as I will, but as Thou wilt" (Mt. 26:39).
From the very outset of my Christian life, it has been my experience that to insist before God on my way and my timing for the answer to my prayers only breeds anxiety and tension. As long as I am praying with clenched fists, as long as I reserve something--"Anything but that, Lord"--I will not have peace.
Only when I look the thing I most fear squarely in the face and pray, "If it is possible, let this cup pass, yet not my will but Thine be done," only then does He give rest and peace. As Amy Carmichael wrote, "In acceptance lieth peace." Like ointment applied to a wound, this takes the sting out of any affliction God gives. A heart of Acceptance-with-Joy keeps me mindful that, if He gives to me whatever it is I'm dreading, it is because He has a purpose which would be accomplished in no other way.
If there had been any other way to cleanse me and other sinners like me from sin, if Buddha or Mohammed or crystals or crawling up a rocky hill on bleeding knees or simply trying harder could have bridged the gap between God and man, Jesus would not have had to die. Through His death and resurrection, though, He has given eternal life to those who trust Him. He made it possible for His Holy Spirit to make His home in the hearts of all who believe, to enable them to live out Christ's life in their own. He struck the death blow to Satan, the accuser of the brethren and enemy of souls.
If Jesus could trust His Father's hand in that ultimate of worst-cast scenarios, how much more can I trust that--even if the pink slip does come, even if I don't see my loved one come to Christ, even if God doesn't bring healing of this physical body--He will be with me and use even this for my good and for His glory. I pray that He enables us to pray with open hands, knowing that "there is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still," to quote the late Corrie ten Boom. And I thank and praise Jesus for saying, "Thy will be done," for His yes has given me life.
originally distributed to the crumbs from His table e-mail distribution list, March 18, 1998