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Thursday, 13 August 2015

Not My Will

I’m just back from Bible study, where we sat in the sun and shared joys and concerns and prayed for one another.

I came home, made myself a peanut butter sandwich and looked in the fridge for what I knew was there, waiting for this day. A cold bottle (small) of Heineken beer. 

And I sat out in the sunshine again, reading the September issue of Woman Alive magazine (@WomanAliveUK), remembering. Remembering a summer 45 years ago (what?!!!) when my sister and I hitch-hiked around Europe. We queued up outside the Heineken brewery in Amsterdam because we knew they gave free samples of the beer but more importantly, cheese and crackers, at the end of every tour. On a tight budget, we and all the other backpackers were lined up ready to get our free meal. Only a certain number were allowed in, though, and as Judy and I approached the front of the queue, a general scrum ensued. Judy, being a head taller and considerably stronger than me, grabbed my arm and I found myself flying inside with her. (sorry to any I may have queue-jumped to victory).

I’ve had a soft spot for Heineken ever since. Now this was probably my annual bottle of Heineken because I really only ever drink beer if it is very warm. And I live in Scotland. Enough said.

That all just sets the scene because what I really want to write about is that I suddenly realized that while I thought I was in my own garden, and was, physically, spiritually I am in the Garden of Gethsemane. 

I am in a situation that I don’t want to be in. I have to go through something I don’t want to navigate. I have to make decisions I don’t want to make. I suddenly realized that Jesus was in exactly the same place. He was on his knees sweating blood (something I’ve not yet done), begging that things change so he wouldn’t have to go through what he saw coming. But after the prayer, after the anguished begging that his Father would let this cup pass him by, he acquiesced. ‘Not my will but yours be done.’ 

What he had to go through had all the hallmarks of failure. Pain. Humiliation. Loss of freedom. Agony. Death. My situation doesn’t come close to that, praise God. But it still is something I would rather avoid. I just want God to take this cup from me so I can get on with my life. 

Today in the garden of Barehillock, cold Heineken in my hand, I recognised that the Father is waiting for me to pray Jesus’ prayer. Not my will, but yours be done. He can then bring glory out of this difficult situation. 

And that gives me hope. That raises the expectation, that I will see God be glorified in this as I agree with him in prayer and walk forward in faith, courageously, with my hand firmly in his.
Psalm 63, my favourite psalm, says ‘I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.’ 

Praise God. 'Not my will, but yours be done.' Deep breath.

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