I love waking up to sunny winter skies.  Baku, Azerbaijan.

I love waking up to sunny winter skies. Baku, Azerbaijan.

I was riddled with agony last December, to the point, where at times, I couldn’t pray. I had no words. I could pray for other people if they asked me to and gave me specifics. But I could barely whisper a prayer for myself.

I was asking God for a miracle. I know who my God is. He created the universe from nothing. He is able to resurrect the dead. My God is BIG, BIG, BIG. He is bigger than any situation.

But day after day, I faced a deliberate slap of silence. Un-forgiveness. A hardened heart. Hate, which is an unstoppable cancer. The reality that an upcoming death was imminent. And there was nothing that I could do about it.

Therefore, the agony.

Last night, I watched a video from North Point Community Church, entitled Red Letter Prayers, part 2: The Garden of Gethsemane. The speaker, Joel Thomas, talked about Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane.

Jesus KNEW what He, the son of God, God in a body, was going to go through. He KNEW that He was going to go through the whipping, the humiliation, the crucifixion. He KNEW he was going to die. He also KNEW His Heavenly Father, and He KNEW that His Heavenly Father, the creator of the universe, the one who had the power to resurrect the dead, could stop this at any moment.

Jesus was overwhelmed with sorrow. In the book of Luke, who was a doctor, it says that Jesus’ sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus says the following prayer three times. Not one time or two times. THREE TIMES. 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.”

Those words, the surrendered heart, Yet not as I will, but at you will, the acquisition of strength He gained from His Father, this strength, which allowed Him to bear unjust trials, physical pain, bloodshed, humiliation and the crucifixion, is unfathomable. It’s a supernatural strength that can only come from our Heavenly Father. It’s a strength that requires surrender and frees you from the fear of suffering.

What makes it more mind-blowing to me is that He chose death to save not just the people who believed that He is the Messiah, He chose death to save Judas, Caiaphas, the Pharisees, Pontius Pilate, the soldiers who whipped and tortured Him.

He chose a painful and humiliating death so those who hated Him could be reconciled to our Heavenly Father. If that isn’t love, what is?

It made me ask–Can I pray for the person who hates me? Can I bless them no matter what? Can I love the person who hates me and suffer through fruits of their hate?

Yes.

So this morning I woke up and was able to pray again. Not the prayers of agony that involved wrestling and anger and grief and demands of pachimoo.

(Ritual, recipes, formulas are sooooo much easier than relationship.)

Instead, Thy will be done.

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