Jesus repeats his prayer three times, “Father if it is your will, take this cup from me.” However, he allows himself to drink deeply, to be drained dry for our sake.
In the course of receiving treatment for stage three breast cancer, it helped to identify one family member for each suffering, that would be the person for whom I would pray. One received every time I was pierced, by a shot, needle, IV, or scalpel. One received all the pain of my left arm –which continues to be a plague with the compression sleeve, and another, my frozen shoulder. One received all my baldness, and another, all my fatigue.
The last time I received infusion therapy, they struggled to get an IV, and it hurt even when the IV nurse worked with me. In my brain, I heard the voice, “You said you’d offer this for that person, you’d offer your suffering. Did you expect it not to hurt?’ and I responded, “Yeah, well, maybe not so much.”
My compression sleeve is a constant pain, because it is a constant thing to wear. There’s a night and a day sleeve, and the idea that my left arm will be forever bound, mentally fatigues. It makes cooking, washing, cleaning, driving, all of it, a bit of a challenge. Typing also takes it on the chin…never a good thing for a writer. I keep joking. “I gave up my left arm for Lent,” but this Lent won’t end at Easter. This is an ongoing reality from this point forward. Again I felt reminded, I’d offered this as a prayer, and perhaps the one for whom I offered this, would need a lifetime of prayer. Perhaps I needed to be pushed into more prayer than I would otherwise give.
Suffering is never fun, never sought, and never something we say, “Bring it.” to, but when it is linked to the salvation of all those we love, it becomes possible. Knowing that all suffering can be made redemptive if we lean into God’s grace, how can we not drink?
God always wants our whole heart, so for God, until we stand before Him rejoicing, until we are in His heart willingly and forever, for God, it is a time of waiting. Our fallen nature creates a desert for our Lord as He prays we will respond to His call with a “yes.”