By Mark Grace, CCCNZ Ambassador
A haere ana ia ki tahaki tata atu, ka takoto tapapa, ka inoi, ka mea, E toku Matua, ki te mea e ahei, kia pahemo atu tenei kapu i ahau: otira kaua e waiho i taku e pai ai, engari i tau.
Ua maliu faaitiiti atu i luma, ona faapaū fao ai lea o ia ma tatalo, ua faapea atu, Lo‘u Tamā e, afai e mafai, ia ave ese lenei ipu ia te au; a e aua le faia lo‘u loto, a o lou finagalo.
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”.
In this intimate scene near the end of Jesus' time on earth, we get a glimpse into his sorrow and anguish. His prayer is filled with pain. He pleads with his Father: "If there is another way, please let me take it".
Jesus suffers in the garden, but this suffering hardly compares to the suffering he would experience in only a few hours.
Don Carson writes, “The God on whom we rely knows what suffering is all about—not only in the way that God knows everything, but by experience”. The one we pray to in the depths of trial has suffered as one of us.
More than that, he has suffered for us.
In order to satisfy his justice, in order to forgive and receive us without ignoring the evil of sin, God himself bears the penalty for our sin.
Because God is both sovereign over our suffering and has suffered himself, we know our suffering always has a purpose even though we cannot see it. We can trust him without understanding him.
Jesus found the comfort, strength and fortitude to face his trial through prayer. He trusted that his Father, in his sovereignty, would lead him down the best path. He knew God would work his suffering for good, as part of his plan for him and for us all.
We, followers of Christ more than two thousand years later, can do the same. We can take comfort and find strength in our God who is not only sovereign over suffering, but who knows what it is like to suffer as a human.
We can take confidence from this promise from God: "For those who love God, all things work together for good".