41 “And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Luke 22: 41-44
I remember hearing the above Biblical account as a child and questioning, “Where was God the Father when Jesus was suffering? Why didn’t He stop it? Wasn’t there another (less painful) way?”
Back then I didn’t have as much understanding of the Biblical narrative in its entirety, but even now I find myself asking the same questions in relation to my own circumstances. You see, as the griefs of life ebb and flow, I often plead in agony, “Where are you God? Aren’t you willing to take this cup away?” I long to be refined without the fire, without all of the pain and hurt. Many times, though unlike Jesus, my prideful heart wrestles with God’s sovereign will and purpose in my pain.
Maybe you’ve been there? Or maybe you’re there right now? If so, remember that…
…the beauty of Easter is that it reminds us that our hope lies not in our current circumstances, but rather in the Resurrection, the crux of the Bible where we see God’s sovereign plan to glorify Christ unfolding and where we learn our place – as broken, wicked, but rescued, redeemed, and loved people- in the Story.
In this passage, Jesus suffered not merely because of something man did to Him, but because the Father ordained it, for the sake of His glory (John 17:1). Jesus trusted the Father’s will was far greater than He could know and humbly submitted to it (v.42). And the Father met His needs by providing grace in the anguish (v.43).
The same can be said of our own trials. We are called to humbly submit to and trust in God’s will despite our circumstances. And the Father promises to give us sustaining grace. He will glorify Christ through our sufferings. Not just that, but He also promises that our earthly sorrows are preparing for us a weight of glory far beyond comparison (2 Cor. 4:17).
During his public ministry, Jesus made no promises that those who believe in Him will not suffer. In fact, He promises just the opposite (John 16:33). And while the Resurrection does not offer an escape from our pain and suffering, it does provide hope in that one day, all will be made right for those who trust in Christ (Rev. 21:4).
One day, our sufferings will pale in comparison to the glory of Christ revealed. One day, we will see fully. One day, we will know God’s completed work in our pain as we relish in the joy of knowing Christ fully.
But until that day, we rest in the hope of Christ’s work in the Resurrection amidst our pain.