Thursday, September 24, 2015

In the garden with Jesus

Psalm 37:4-5 NASB - "4 Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, and He will do it."

Psalm 37:4-5 YLT - "4 And delight thyself on Yahweh, And He giveth to thee the petitions of thy heart. 5 Roll on Jehovah thy way, And trust upon Him, and He worketh,"

These passages hit us who have suffered loss as difficult to comprehend or make sense of in our pain.  The literal translation really seems to be saying that if we find ultimate and supreme pleasure in the LORD Himself then our prayers will be positively answered. 

How do we reconcile this with our situation where our petitions were not answered with a yes and in many cases the prayers of a multitude of believers were given a negative response to their cries.  Did none of us delight ourselves in the LORD? 

Now in a very strict sense this is true.  All have sinned and fallen short.  None but those already in the kingdom of heaven with God actually delight in the LORD, as they should.  So in this very narrow sense none of us could claim God failed to keep this commitment, because in fact we have all horribly come terribly short of delighting in the essence of God alone. 

But this answer does not help us much practically.  We have a relationship with God and HE is our Father, how could HE not hear our prayer at such a desperate time?

Perhaps the answer to this is found in Messiah Jesus.

Luke 22:41-44 NASB - "41 And He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42 saying, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done." 43 Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground."

The Lord Jesus does delight in the Father perfectly.  But due to this HIS ultimate petition is “not My will, but Yours be done.”  God’s will in this case is very hard and includes horrible pain.  So there is the natural desire to have God deliver us from times of great agony and loss, but for those who delight in the LORD, only if avoiding this loss will not hurt God’s redemptive kingdom.  To the degree we “delight in the LORD” we want his glory and kingdom more than our comfort or even the healing of our loved ones.  Then, if this cross is needed for some ultimate greater glory for God and HIS kingdom, with tears and with bloody sweat we pray, “give me the cross.” 

It is hard in the middle of our struggles to pray such prayers.  Most of the time we are desperate for a miracle and hoping against hope that our loved one will be restored to us in health.  But eventually, either during the dark night of suffering or later as we process our agony, sadness, and grief we must come to this garden of Gethsemane moment and surrender to God’s difficult redemptive will.   It will not be easy and we will emotionally, if not physically, sweat blood as we come to that moment of ultimate delight in the LORD HIMSELF. 

LORD of mercy and love.  Help me surrender to you even the broken prayers for my loved one and their deliverance from pain and death.  Desperate prayers and fervent they were and now I give them to you accepting that for your glory and kingdom they could not be fulfilled.  Help me move into the place in my heart that I can echo the heart of Messiah Jesus; “Not my will but your WILL be done.”   Lord, have mercy on me for this is a very hard thing to do.

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