Let us start this blog with a passage from the Bible.
Read with me from Matthew 26:39: “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (NIV)
Have you ever really considered this verse in the Bible? Sometimes it is so easy to gloss over the fact that there was this moment in Jesus’ life where He asked God to make an adjustment to the plan. He asked not once, but it appears he asked at least 3 times.
Then, we read Hebrews 12:2: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
“…who for the joy set before him…” is often what we focus on, forgetting that Jesus asked God to change the plan. Folks, sometimes it is easy to forget that Jesus fully understands when we hit challenges, hard times, difficult decisions or overwhelming circumstances. Earlier in Matthew 26:38, Jesus says to Peter and the sons of Zebedee (James and John), “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (NIV)
Jesus understands when we face hard times – and many of us are: finances are tight and the fear of Covid is real, and both these (to some extent) are outside of our control.
But Jesus gets it – he felt overwhelmed, he felt sorrow, he asked for the plan to change – but look at what he did about it all:
He prayed and told God everything he was feeling: “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.”
We need to sit down with God and talk to Him. Tell Him honestly what is happening. Yes, He does know, but when we bring these things to God in prayer, He does something simply because we ask – He wants us to come to Him. James 4:8 (NIV): “Come near to God, and he will come near to you.”
Get others to pray with you. This is sometimes the most difficult thing to do as we don’t want to be vulnerable with others and we would like people to think we have it all together. Jesus did not hide the fact that He was overwhelmed. We need to learn to share what our battles, fears and concerns are with trustworthy people, so they can “Stay here and keep watch with me,” as Jesus said to Peter, James and John (Matthew 26:38b; NIV).
When you get to the place of talking to God, listen to what He says, then be obedient. This might cost you something – a bad relationship, a dodgy business deal, a standard of living or an idol (money, children, family). Jesus, knowing what He was going to face, said: “Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Philippians 2:8 (NIV): “…he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!”
Obedience is not always easy but see how the obedience of Jesus has brought about blessing and forgiveness to all of us. When you choose to be obedient, the blessings will come.
Consider Hebrews 12:2b-3: “…and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart”. Jesus now sits at the right hand of the throne of God.
So may I encourage you, once again, to pray, ask others to pray with you and for you, and then be obedient to what God asks you to do (as it says in Hebrews 12:3) “so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Women of Reverence welcomes Nadine Judge as a guest blogger.
Lead Elder’s wife, Human Capital Specialist and Executive Facilitator
Nadine Judge is married to Francis Judge and together they lead Venture Church in Fairlands, Johannesburg. They have 3 children, 2 of whom are married and one who is currently in high school. Nadine and Francis also have one granddaughter who blesses them both abundantly.
Nadine is proficient in English and Afrikaans, and has experience operating in multi-cultural contexts. She has developed leaders in South Africa, Zambia, Lesotho, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Iceland. When she isn't inspiring leaders and assisting Francis in leading a church, Nadine is often found where coffee, books and internet converge.