Do a quick scan of the Scriptures, and you will notice that men and women were placed on purpose by God in various environments.
Adam and Eve in the Garden, Abraham in Canaan, Moses in the bulrushes—God put people where He desired in order to accomplish things that could have happened nowhere else. And, He does the same with each of us.
Often we don’t see our geography as such, and we resist and run from these places. But we must be wise to God’s greater agenda. If we are to experience all that God has for us, we must embrace each environment, even if it’s hard.
The Place of Distress
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here wile I go over there and pray.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be grieved and distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”
And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:36-39 NASB).
Jesus knew what lay ahead. The deepest suffering any human would ever experience was His to drink.
The man, Jesus, looked at this cup with dread. He “fell on His face” in prayer. Another gospel writer says that before this time of wrestling was over, His sweat became like great drops of blood.
Although He could have, God did not deliver His Son from this place. The Father could have swept in and rescued Jesus from this painful night of prayer and the events that were to follow. But for divine, world-changing reasons, this cup was Christ’s to drink.
There are times when God knows we must go through such wrestling as we face the possibilities of following God. These times are not random, but deliberate, just as it was with Jesus.
A Place of Deep Surrender
It is easy to speak of surrender while sitting in a nice chair in an air-conditioned auditorium. These are not unmeaningful times and often are incredibly legitimate.
But look at Jesus. He knew, with full realization, what was before Him. He faced the suffering with reality. And He found that reality in a place of prayer.
He also knew that this path would bring glory to the Father and deliverance to those He had come to save. In the greatest act of surrender ever experienced by mortal man, Jesus cried out, “Not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
Deep distress is often the pathway to deep surrender. God hears our distress and will meet us where we are, but He does not always deliver us from the suffering.
This life is brief, and He has purposeful places for us beyond our understanding. They are most often pathways that open the gate to bring salvation and life to others.
So, what should we do when we find ourselves in such a place? We should fall on our face and pray, as He did. We should face the reality squarely, without silliness or false hopes.
We should take others with us to pray (even if they may fall asleep, not knowing the depth of what we are experiencing). And, if we are to be used as our firstborn Brother was used to glorify God, we must come to the blessed place of full surrender to God’s will.
But we must also know that, at the end of suffering, there is joy! Jesus was the One, “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2). The will of God is always best for all concerned, even though the path to its acceptance may be painful.
Joy comes in the morning! We must remember this and gladly go to this sacred place in prayer
Pray It In: What step of surrender are you facing right now? Take time to pray through this. If you find yourself unwilling to let go, ask God to make you willing … and then release it into His hands.
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