And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." - Matthew 26:39
The hard reality of living in this broken world is that trials are coming. Hard things are going to happen to us and to the people we love. Sometimes they're the result of sinful choices, and sometimes they're refining tools God uses to transform our hearts...but they are coming.
We need to know they're coming and prepare our hearts for them. An unprepared heart can get lost in discouragement and fear, which can lead to soul-crushing depression and paralyzingly anxiety. When something unexpected drops into your life and threatens your future, the first waves of fear and discouragement in the trial are not sin. The danger is when we yield to those feelings and don't put up a spiritual fight. We give in to those feelings and they overwhelm us.
At the root of those feelings of discouragement and fear is unbelief, and that is sin. If we don't put up a fight and make a choice in those difficult moments, our initial feelings of fear and discouragement will spiral into anxiety and depression. That is sin.
So many people I know are trapped in these sinful, vicious circles of mental illness, and we don't have to be. And we certainly don't have to stay there when we realize we're in the pit. We have a choice about what think about and do.
In this passage, Jesus is confronted with the most difficult trial in this moment, and feels those feelings of discouragement rising - He feels the same fear and discouragement we feel when confronted with a trial. What does He do to fight the spiritual battle? He chooses close and trusted friends to spend time with Him - He doesn't isolate. And He pours out His heart to them - my soul is sorrowful, even to death. He doesn't try to be strong in that moment, He says what is on His heart. We have such a tendency to cover up our vulnerabilities! Or to hide our trials for fear of judgment from others, but here we are taught we should go to our friends.
Then He goes to our Father in prayer and pours out His heart. He cries to God in passionate pleas for what He wants, but then His final act is to submit His will to God's will. Before He leaves that prayer, He knows and He trusts that God's plan is for the greater good, and He submits.
When we feel the soul-crushing trials of life hit, we need to get with our friends, we need to get on our knees and pour out our hearts to Him, and we need to submit our wills to His, trusting that His plan is for our good.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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