Last Thursday, in Lessons Before the Cross, Part 5, we saw that prayer is our source of power our access to comfort and strength from above, and it is also our responsibility.
But Jesus’ Before-the-Cross lessons aren’t yet finished. Let’s go back to the Garden of Gethsemane: “And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude …When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, ‘Lord, shall we strike with the sword?'” (Luke 22:47-49 NKJV)
As we saw in Lessons Before the Cross, Part 4, Jesus had not only allowed His disciples to go into the garden armed, but He told them that if they didn’t have a sword, they needed to go out and purchase one. And now, the time has finally come when they will be allowed to defend themselves! And they cry out, with eagerness in their tone: “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”
After all, Jesus has told them to carry a sword! What better time to use it?
But Jesus wasn’t happy with Peter: “But Jesus answered and said, ‘Permit even this.’ And He touched his ear and healed him.” (Luke 22:51 NKJV)
Wait! Why would Jesus tell the disciples to carry a sword, but not permit them to use it?
Simply put, it is because they are using the sword offensively, to protect Jesus, but that was not Jesus’ purpose. Jesus knew this was His hour, for it is recorded, just a few verses later, “But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” (Luke 22:53 NKJV).
This brief little scene in the Garden of Gethsemane can teach us some a very powerful lesson on submission to God’s will. We need to understand that if something is God’s will, nothing we can do will stop it. And when God wills it, we shouldn’t even desire to stop it! Instead, we should submit to His will.
That may mean that things don’t go according to our plan. It may mean that we must go through troubled times. But in the end, it will be worth it. We must submit ourselves 100% to His will.
During my bout with Breast Cancer in the Summer and Fall of 2012, God told me, before I even found the lump, that I was going to go through troubled times, but to take courage, for it was nothing but a test. When I found the lump later that very same day, I knew I had cancer, and I knew there was no reason to fight it. Yes, I did pray it would go away, but when it didn’t, I submitted myself to God’s will. I allowed Him to carry me through the valley of cancer, and in the end, I emerged from that valley so much stronger in the Lord than I’ve ever been, that I could honestly say, “Thanks, God! Thanks for allowing me to go through Breast Cancer with You!”
Friends, whatever it is that God is asking to carry you through right now, why not submit to His will? For when you do, you will also say, “Thanks God! Thanks for allowing me to go through ______________ with You!”
So why was it that Jesus told the disciples to carry swords?
For their own protection after His arrest! Jesus knew they would be hunted, He knew they needed a form of protection. But there in the Garden, at the moment of His arrest, was not the time!
Maybe you are not in a valley of your life right now. Or maybe you have just finished one, or perhaps you are currently in a huge one! No matter where you find yourself in your walk through life, remember that trials are part of God’s ultimate plan because they work for His glory. Don’t wish them away. Don’t get mad at God for allowing them. Instead, follow Jesus’ example: Humbly submit to His will. Cover yourself in prayer and carry with you the “Sword”, the Word of God. Then just sit back and see what God will do to bring you through. And when it’s all over, I challenge you to look back over the trial and identify all the hundreds of times you saw God’s hand, and the many good things that came out of you going through it!
In His love,
Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two teens, Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries; Author of “Aboard God’s Train: A Journey with God Through the Valley of Cancer.” Follow me on Twitter: @lynchaffart
(To access the entire “Lessons Before the Cross” series, please click here.)