"Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." - Mark 14:36 (NIV)
For some reason, these past few weeks have proven to be really weary on my spirit and body. Not only was I tired physically, but I constantly felt a great deal of depression in my spirit. And I found myself to be easily agitated as well as irritated. To some extent, I have even 'barked' at a few people that have stepped on my tail (unintentionally), and now when I think back, I kinda regret for not my keeping my cool.
There were also times when I just felt like giving up. This 'Christian' walk proved to be much more difficult than I imagined. Even after so many years of walking this path, yet, it doesn't seem to get any easier. And I'm begining to learn, that maybe, it's not meant to progress us to ease, but rather, to challenge us with greater trials.
Many years ago, I recalled during my Uni days, I constantly preached a message of "Christian Joy", testifying of what God has done thru several incidences in my life then. I remembered telling people to "protect your joy" because that's the "gift" of God to us. "Do not be robbed of your joy" and "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say Rejoice!" were words that I've used to encourage others of the same faith. And yet, after at least 5 years have past, and I have to preach this message to myself again. This is because it is so easy to let your joy be robbed of you. All it needs is a single word, or incident, and we can be so downcast in our Spirits. And if we let it perpetuate, this 'depression' will turn into hatred and rage.
My own journey during these past weeks proved to be more than I could handle. And honestly, I would have to confess that there were times in my heart that I cried out to God saying, Lord, I can't do this anymore. And yet, even in my failure to keep His statutes, God, in His mercy turned my heart towards the event that took place in the Garden of Gethsemane, where there, our Lord, in anguish and fear cried out to the Father, "Abba, everything is possible with you. Take this cup from me..." (Jesus acknowledged that God could do anything, which include rescuing Him from this painful event). "...Yet not what I will, but Your will be done..."
Jesus understood the sovereignty and the heart of God the Father. In His (Jesus) plea for escape from pain, Jesus continued to put the Father's will as a greater priority than His own desires. This revelation came (though not new, but yet, act as a good reminder) to me during yesterday's prayer meeting, when I was just taking time to reflect on what's happened in the past weeks. Tears rolled down as images from "The Passion of the Christ" begin to play in my mind. And I wondered just for a moment, whether, would Jesus have made a different decision if He knew how I would fail Him time after time. I pause to ponder whether I have live a life that's worthy of His calling. Then came the Holy Spirit who brings not only comfort, but understanding thru the word of God. He brought me to the passage in Romans where it says, "While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." I wept.
Jesus never promised "easiness" nor a "trouble-free" life. In fact, when He said that He has come to give us life, and life abundantly, He meant the abundance of God's blessings, as well as the abundance of the challenges of life. And yet, all these has a cause, a reason. James mentioned in his epistle: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Paul puts it this way: "'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
My conviction? I'm learning to put myself to death (not literally), that is my desires, dreams, my 'wants', my accomplishments, my failures, and my sins. And it's a journey. I acknowledge that. I'm 27 years old this year. By God's grace, I have a good 50 years more in this journey. I pray for the days to come that God continues to increase in me, as I decrease in myself.
"Lord Jesus, in You and You alone, can I ever find meaning to this restlessness in my Spirit. Lord, I ask that you establish Your will in my heart, that may I be so taken by Your beauty, and find nothing else in this world worthier than You. Continue to work Your Spirit in me. Forgive me of my weaknesses and sins, and I pray that You will not pass over me, but use me any way you choose, to the proclaming of Your fame and renown. Let Your glory be made known thru this earth, and Lord, start with me. In Your name I pray, Amen."