“Why doesn’t God ever answer my prayers?” Her anguish rolls down her cheeks in large, salty droplets. I gather her shaking body into my arms and hold her close.
It was a little thing that set off the flood of tears, but I know the question stems from something much bigger.
Why, Lord? I’ve asked Him too.
Like many others, my children have had to face hard things. They’ve wrestled with deep questions.
How do you explain to a child that God is always able but not always willing? That sometimes the answer is no? How do you explain what you don’t fully understand yourself?
Jesus withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.Luke 22:41-44
Take this cup. He knelt alone, his body sweating blood. Hematohidrosis is a rare condition, a physical manifestation of acute mental distress. Jesus hadn’t yet made it out of the Garden, and already he was shedding blood.
Take this cup. It was more than just a prayer. It was an anguished cry wrenched from the heart-depths of the Saviour himself.
Take this cup. We pick up our crosses daily, but no cross is greater than the one he carried for us. The one he died on. The ugly sins he bore though he himself had never sinned.
It always comes back to Jesus, doesn’t it? When we don’t have the answers, he is the answer. Whatever we’re facing, he faced it first.
We all encounter hard things at some point in our lives, but God has a bigger plan than what we see, an intricate design woven out of suffering. Jesus dealt with a pain we’ll never begin to fathom, yet he trusted the Father unwaveringly.
So when my children come to me with deep hurts and unanswered questions, there is only one thing we can do. We kneel together and lay them at His feet.
Lord, if You are willing, take this cup.
And yet, not our will, but Thine.