Scripture:  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.”

Observation-What does it say?  Jesus is in the final stretches of his first mission on earth.  He has made the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and is about to be betrayed.  In light of what is about to happen, Jesus stops to pray.  He prayed with fever and passion, as described in Luke 22:39-46.  “The prospect of his suffering fills Jesus with horror…Peter, writing later, says that Jesus ‘was bearing our sins in his own body on the cross’ (1 Peter 2:24)” (Zondervan Handbook of the Bible, p.575).   Despite his vehement prayers, Jesus ultimately submits and God’s plan is still carried out.

Understanding-What does it mean?  My son, Ezekiel, suffers from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  He also has some food allergies.  And so, he really shouldn’t be eating certain foods that irritate his stomach and that he is allergic to, like wheat, dairy, and eggs.  We learned this when he was four years old.  And do you know what four year old boys like to eat?  I can give you a short list: pizza, macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, peanut butter and jelly.  These all include at least two of the three foods he is allergic to, and I haven’t even begun on desserts.  

Having to suffer through this with Ezekiel has been a painful, but effective, object lesson in why we sometimes have to hear the word “no” when we earnestly pray for something.  It hurts to see the look on Ezekiel’s face at a birthday party when he can’t have cake.  It’s not fun having to forego pizza as a family, because of the way it hurts his stomach.  But, I know these are good things for him to abstain from.  Just like God knows the things that are best for us.  

Something else I have learned in having kids, is that I love to hear their stories.  I also love when they want to spend time with me, especially if it is doing a mundane task.  It can get really annoying if the only things coming out of their mouths is, “Can I have a…?  I want a…  I need it now.”  And so, I know our heavenly father feels the same way.  C.S. Lewis writes, “Prayer in the sense of petitions, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its threshold, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine.  In it God shows Himself to us.  That he answers prayers is a corollary- not necessarily the most important one- from that revelation” (The World’s Last Night, p. 7).

Life Application:  Jesus I want to abide in you.  I want to know you and hear your voice.  While I still struggle with material desires, like wanting a bigger house or a nice truck, I know  these will ultimately leave me empty and still wanting more.  Help me to replace these with a longing for your voice.  Help me to thrive in waiting for you.  Most of all, help me to accept your “no” because you “know.”
 -Tyler Galloway