“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me;
yet not my will, but yours be done.”
My friend gazed into her hot coffee, cupping the mug with her hands.
“I’m just not feelin’ it”, she said.
I could sense her discouragement. Years of struggling in marriage and motherhood left her disenchanted and lacking in the faith department. Once regular church-goers, she and her husband had decided to “take a break”.
“I don’t feel anything if I go to church. I don’t feel anything if I don’t go to church. I don’t feel any different in my daily life, so I don’t really see the point.”
My heart ached at her confession. I wanted to shake her shoulders and tell her to get it together; to somehow convince her that she was wrong – that having Christ in her life did make a difference. It made all the difference.
She knew why she should go to church; she had grown up in a Christian family and had walked closely with the Lord as a young adult. Somewhere along the way of marriage infidelity, multiple miscarriages, and a family member’s suicide, her head had disconnected itself from her heart. She could no longer justify doing something she felt no emotional connection to.
Because God has wired us to have an emotional relationship with Him, it is understandable how this separation occurred. I have certainly had times in my life where I knew I needed to do something I wasn’t feeling an emotional desire to do.
After leaving the coffee shop that morning, I wanted to pray for my friend. Feeling there was no way I would be able to convince her with my words, perhaps the Lord could. She needed to know how much God loved her even in the darkest of times in life. She need to know that choosing obedience is always worth it – even when we’re not feeling it.
The Lord reminded me of an example of someone who wasn’t feeling it, either. Luke 22 portrays the account of Jesus going to the Mount of Olives to pray as He did many times during His earthly stay. He had his disciples with him and He knew the end was near. This was the night He was to be betrayed, arrested, and ultimately crucified.
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.” v42
Can you imagine His angst about being sacrificed for the sins of all mankind? I’m guessing He wasn’t really feeling like being flogged, His flesh ripping off His bones. He probably wasn’t feeling like having nails hammered into His hands and feet. Or dying in the most torturous manner – crucifixion. Sure, He and God had agreed it was necessary to save the people, but really? Like this? Could there be any other way, He pleaded.
An angel from heaven appeared and strengthened Him. He remained in anguish and prayed more earnestly. So much so that His pores sweated blood. I don’t know about you, but I have never been stressed to the point of sweating blood. Jesus was. He knew the suffering He was about to endure. He was not looking forward to it. He triple-checked with God to be absolutely sure there was no other way.
“Yet not my will, but yours be done.”
Emotion was overtaken by devotion. He chose obedience. By allowing the soldiers to arrest Him and nail Him to the cross without a fight, He honored the commitment He made to His Father. And after hours of physical suffering and emotional ridicule, he lacked the strength to inhale another breath. He gave up His Spirit to death. Christ didn’t need to feel like being obedient in order to do so. And neither do we.
Emotions come and go like the waves of the ocean; the value of salvation will never change. May thankfulness overwhelm our hearts into obedience when we go through times when we’re just not feeling it.
Lord, thank you for the amazing sacrifice Jesus made for us. May we never take for granted the strength and discipline it took for Him to give H
is life as we allow gratitude to motivate obedience.