Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did. 1 John 2:6
“Please Lord…please save her. She’s not ready to go; I’m not ready for her to go. You are the great physician – You can do all things…please heal my friend.”
These are words I prayed ten years ago for a dear friend who was dying of cancer.
The friend who loved and prayed for everyone.
The one I turned to when life went left instead of right.
The friend who didn’t just pray for you, she prayed with her whole body, arms wrapped around you.
Her name was (is) Diana and during her treatment, she told anyone who listened she was thankful for cancer because it brought her closer to the Lord.
Gaunt and frail, a sweater thrown over bony shoulders, her eyes remained bright, her smile wide and full of hope.
She wanted to be healed and continue work the Lord was doing.
There were people she was ministering to.
People who didn’t know Jesus – ones she loved and prayed for.
Diana wanted to finish that good work begun.
A few weeks later, Diana was with the Jesus she loves.
Words like sad and grief and missing piece don’t begin to describe the loss.
Sunshine turned beige.
Stories emerged about people accepting Jesus before Diana passed – people Diana prayed for.
We couldn’t understand why.
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him. Hebrews 5:7-9
Fervent cries and tears.
Walk as Jesus did.
He’s been there.
Jesus wasn’t stoic.
He offered desperate, choking prayers.
God saved Him from death through resurrection.
The way for Jesus and us was through death.
Death that lead to life.
Purpose in pain.
Suffering for sanctification.
Jesus didn’t pretend.
He didn’t offer choreographed prayers of perfection.
He prayed sweaty, desperate prayers in the dirt of a garden.
He prayed for something He did not receive.
“Father, if You are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not Mine.” Luke 22:42
Jesus conquered death – just not the way He hoped.
My friend Diana, had a sister she loved and prayed with – they often gazed at stars.
One evening after Diana passed, her sister stared into the sky and asked God why.
At Diana’s memorial, she shared God’s answer.
“I asked God why? Why did He take her? Why didn’t He heal her cancer?
I felt Him say to my spirit, ‘I did.’
In that moment, I realized for the first time my sister is now cancer free.”
It was a moment I’ve never forgotten.
God answered our prayers – just not how we hoped.
To walk as Jesus did doesn’t mean enduring life’s hardship with a smile and corresponding scripture.
It doesn’t mean knowing all the answers or having perfect faith.
Jesus cried out and endured.
Walked by faith when He didn’t understand.
I am not Jesus.
My faith is far from perfect.
I take comfort in the vulnerability and distress Jesus displayed.
He was without sin but not without humanity.
He allowed Himself to experience the same not knowing I do.
“Yet I want Your will to be done, not mine.”
I become angry and resentful when I can’t let go of my will.
I want my way, not God’s.
I become frustrated and think things like, “Where is God?”
“How can a good God allow this?”
I don’t trust Him.
I think my ways and plans are better.
A duck can’t imagine what it’s like to be a cow – neither can I understand the ways of God.
Sometimes there are no answers…there’s only the mystery of God and a world that doesn’t make sense.
I must walk by faith.
Faith that God is good.
Faith His promises are true.
Faith God is in control even when everything seems out of control.
Faith that in the end, life is restored and love wins.