"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 cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14: 35-36
I’m not fond of waiting. This is probably not unusual in our culture, where we expect quick and efficient responses to problems, and for the solutions to be completely satisfactory. Our culture expects us to be impatient, and, in turn, we learn to be demanding.
The story of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane reminds us that waiting on God requires more than just patience and knowing what we want God to do for us. Waiting on God requires trust. Here is Jesus, God’s only Son, full of grace and truth, and yet God does not answer Him. Jesus is made to wait, in spite of His fear and anxiety.
Jesus must wait, not because God has abandoned Him, but because there is always something deeper to God’s purposes that we can know. The theologian Mark McIntosh put it this way, “The answer of God to Jesus’s prayer in the Garden was not to spare Him from the agony of the cross, but to raise Him from the dead”.
We are called to wait on God, sometimes in difficult circumstances, not because God wants us to suffer, but because there is always something greater that awaits us.
Learning to wait, and to trust, takes time. Here are some suggestions that might help:
- Try to find space each day to reflect on where God is working in your life
- Think back over your faith journey, to times when God seemed to be absent. Did something unexpected happen, something that caused you to grow or mature in faith?
- Meditative prayer can help - try reading Martin Laird’s “Into the Silent Land” for guidance
- Remember you are not alone! All Christians must wait on God at some point, and have discovered that God is faithful.
Faithful God, you love your children with infinite love and tenderness, even when our prayers are seemingly unanswered. Help us to trust in your purpose for our lives; grant us patience in times of waiting, that we and all your Church may come at last to the inexpressible joys of heaven. Amen.
Written by Revd Phil Morton, Assistant Curate at the Sutton Coldfield Group