One summer during a mission camp week when I was in high school, I was on a work crew at the home of Ms. Myrtle in Richmond, Virginia. As the week came to a close, Ms. Myrtle was so overwhelmed with gratitude, that she went around her home collecting things to give to us. To some framed pictures, to one a book of crossword puzzles, and to another, a camping stool.
Ms. Myrtle was a religious person, with pictures of Jesus and crosses all over her house. On one of her walls was a framed picture of Jesus praying in Gethesamane. She took that picture off the wall, wrote a personal message on the back, and handed it to me.
It is a powerful scene. Jesus has had a final meal with his disciples. He has celebrated the Passover feast. Judas leaves the party early. Jesus and the remaining disciples go to the garden. Once there, Jesus steals away to pray as he had done so many times before.
It is here in the garden that Jesus calls upon God in the intimate language of Abba, or Father. It is also where Jesus prays, “Not mine will be done, but yours.” Jesus is not giving up to what will happen in the next couple of hours. He is surrounding to God in complete and full trust.
Jesus’s prayer is a confession of trust in God.
When Dad was in the hospital for his prostate cancer, the chemo and radiation treatments had left him weak. I stayed overnight one night. As we were talking, Dad lifted his hands as high as he could and said to me, “It’s in God’s hands now.”
For a time I thought that Dad was giving up and it broke me. I could not stand the thought of my father giving up and letting cancer win. It took some time before I realized that he was not giving up. He was, instead, putting all trust in God.
We too can trust God in the most dire of circumstances. Suffering and pain is not ideal in the life of the Christian, but it does happen. And when it does, we can put our trust in the One who is strong when we are weak.