“And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying,’Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him.” Luke 22:41-43
I find myself often praying for strength. It might be my age and stage in life, but I seem to be more keenly aware of my lack of “internal supply” to do what the Father has asked me to do. Throughout the Bible you will find a myriad of scriptures about our need to receive the strength that only God can supply. One of the most often quoted passages is:
Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
This week is Holy Week and I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to see nuances in the Word that I may have passed over before. No sooner did I pray this prayer and He opened my eyes to a profound truth. In Luke 22 we read about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is about to face the most horrific week of His earthly life. It was, in fact, the culminating week for why He came to earth. I imagine that by this time Jesus was beginning to experience the stifling weight of all the sin of humanity. We will never be able to comprehend the immensity of this hour when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, let alone the week ahead.
The first part of Jesus’ prayer we can all relate to “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me”. We all want a rescue from our imminent pain and suffering. I love that we get a picture into Jesus’s humanity here. This is truly our high priest that is acquainted with our sufferings. But in the next phrase we see the profound surrender as Jesus yields to the Father’s will. “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done”. At this point, we all breath a collective sigh of relief; assured that Jesus really did surrender to become our sacrificial lamb.
But for me this time, it was the next verse that jumped off the page. “And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. If there was ever a time that Jesus needed to be strengthened for the week ahead it was right, then and there. But the revelation we don’t want to overlook is that immediately after Jesus declared His surrender to the Father’s will, the heavens opened up and an angel rushed in to strengthen Him.
There is something so pure and profound about our surrender to the Father’s will and His immediate response to supply us with the strength we need for the road ahead. Maybe you are facing some big challenges and part of you is crying out “Father, please remove this cup from me”. If you stop there you will not receive the abundant supply of strength you’re going to need. But if you are intentional about those words of surrender…”Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done”. Then look out because an angel is about to show up and heaven’s strength is about to be poured into your frail, weak self. Hallelujah!
I’m facing some daunting hurdles myself right now. So, my new approach for these next days, weeks, and months is to first pray “Father, not my will but yours be done”. Then I’m going to open my eyes and look for that angel. Let’s all do this together, then we will have new testimonies to share of His great faithfulness and strength.
Dear Father, help me not to fear Your will, but to trust You that in my surrender You will supply all the strength I need to accomplish your purposes and to build my faith in You. Amen!