A Little Farther
by Shannon Heiden
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Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this bitter cup from me. Yet not my will, but yours be done." (Mark 14:35) NIV
Beautiful One, what do you do when you know that with God, everything is possible, but that it just might not be for you? What do you do when you believe and hope with all your heart, and still, that bitter cup, does not pass?
What do you do when your afraid, to keep going, a little farther?
The Garden of Gethsemane, is it a place of resounding victory, where the battle between good and evil had already been won?...... Or is it a place that we easily gloss over to the next chapter to celebrate the cross? May I suggest that there would not be a cross, had there not been a garden first. That place where Christ was in the fight of his natural life, wrestling with his will and flesh. The place where reality met with time and separation from the the Father was inevitable. Something Jesus never had experienced in all of eternity.
The darling of heaven visited this earth to bridge the gap between us and God. To infuse life where the thief of sin and death had stolen it's place. To cover our nakedness and array us in robes of righteousness. To allow us to once again, walk with the LORD in the cool of the day. But before Jesus went to the cross, He had an appointment in the garden.
Beautiful One, the garden is a place that we will visit as well. It is not like the wilderness where we are tempted and tested. It is not the cross, where we will lay down our old lives and take up his new one. The garden is a place where we will confront the ugly and bitter cups of leaving our will, our ways and our agendas in the dirt.
The garden is a place of great pressure, a tight place, a place of isolation where we come face to face with God and his ways, and come to the pain staking reality of choosing to either surrender or retreat.
Oftentimes I ponder what would have happened if Christ had decided not to fulfill his choice. Where would we be if He had decided to just "forget it," it was too much and He gave up on us?
It is astounding that we serve a God who is faithful, even when we are not. It is amazing that even though we break his heart often, He still mends ours. The very fact that Christ sweat drops of blood with anguish in his heart and still went a little farther, tells us that when things are at their worst, when we are at our weakest, we have a loving God who completely understands us. We have a God on our side who knows exactly what we are feeling and why.
Sometimes the cups that we have been served are filled with torment, misery and grief. Sometimes they come as something sweet, only later do we then taste the bitterness.
There are times when relationships fade, jobs are lost, marriages remain broken and our children don't come home. Sometimes the cup of betrayal does not pass and the bitter pain does not subside for a season. Sometimes a loved one stays sick, healing is possible, but maybe just for someone else?
The garden is a place where 'not my will Father, but yours be done' sounds so much easier than it ever really is.....
Beautiful One, no matter what cup has been placed in front of us, it is helpful to remember that Christs greatest miracle came after his garden. The greatest victory that shouted in the face of hell came after Christ's surrender, in the garden.
No matter what we face in this journey of life, we can be sure that God will give us the strength, courage and power to endure, overcome or embrace the cup.
Abba, will make sure to to be with us. Even if our friends are asleep, He wont be. If we have fallen to the ground, He will be there to pick us up and gently whisper;
Keep going, a little farther........
Beautiful One, just believe and if you find yourself in a garden, hold on, you've never been closer to your greatest miracle......
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Your words here spoke so well. As I read, my mind kept going back to the phrase including "not my will but Yours be done." Where Jesus wept and sweat those great drops of blood. I appreciated you connecting the dots for me, that I too must face those times in the garden when God's will and mine are not the same. Mine must bend to His. Wonderful job. Awesome word. Thank you for listening.