I have a ladies group that meets at my house every Wednesday night, with a group focus on cultivating a heart of worship. Occasionally the topic has been discussed about how and why bad things happen to good people. I love this group because we are so honest with one another and some of our conversations are about as real as it gets!
Not long ago as we were studying Jesus prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, the topic came up again, but this time with a “Job” focus, questioning if we could or would be like Job when he lost everything that he ever held dear, and choose not to curse God? If we found ourselves in a situation where we had lost our job or source of income, lost our spouse and/or children, lost our health, had been abandoned by friends, lost our home and sense of security, would we choose to embrace God with all we had, or would we make the choice to be angry, to walk away?
The conversation led us to a portion of scripture found in the book of John chapter six, verses 60 – 69, which says:
60 -And when many of Jesus’ followers heard these things, it caused a stir. “That’s disgusting!” they said. “How could anybody accept it?” 61 -Without anyone telling him, Jesus knew they were outraged and told them, “Are you offended over my teaching? 62 – What will you do when you see the Son of Man ascending into the realm from where he came? 63 – “The Holy Spirit is the one who gives life, that which is of the natural realm is of no help. The words I speak to you are Spirit and life. But there are still some of you who won’t believe.” 64 – In fact, Jesus already knew from the beginning who the skeptics were and who his traitor would be. 65 – He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one embraces me unless the Father has given you to me.” 66 – And so from that time on many of the disciples turned their backs on Jesus and refused to be associated with him. 67 – So Jesus said to his twelve, “And you—do you also want to leave?”68 – Peter spoke up and said, “But Lord, where would we go? No one but you gives us the revelation of eternal life. 69 – We’re fully convinced that you are the Anointed One, the Son of the Living God, and we believe in you!”John 6:60-69 TPT
I don’t know about you but I’m with Peter! The Lord, He is God! He is the maker of heaven and earth and everything and everyone in it! In Him we move and live and have our being! He has no equal, no rival, no one able to challenge His sovereignty or authority. He is everything that is love and life and peace and contentment. He is the redeemer of my soul. No one else has the words of eternal life but Him!
We have an option to lay our weapons down and allow Satan to destroy us, or we can use our spiritual armor and press into the fight (Ephesians 6:10-18)! It is a motivation check. Do we worship God regardless, because He is God and there is no other? Or do we only worship Him when we perceive that He is good, only when He gives good gifts and tickles our ears with soft sayings?
One thing I find interesting about that passage I’m not sure many people catch or pay attention to is that John 6:66 is the pivotal point where some choose to turn and walk away. Coincidentally the number 666 is the mark of the beast noted in the book of Revelation. To me, those who walked away then are identical to those in the last days who will also choose to abandon their faith, many choosing to take the mark of the beast instead.
If you think about it, Jesus Himself was faced with that very same decision, hence His prayer in the garden: “Father if it be possible, take this cup from me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours be done”. The cup He referenced was the cross, His crucifixion, yes – but it was more than that. Jesus knew that separation, for the first time ever, from His Father, from His glory, from everything He held dear, was imminent.
When He was in the garden, praying about the cup before Him, did He struggle to know for certain that the cup was in fact the will of the Father? In a book titled “Spiritual Authority”, author Watchman Nee points out that Jesus’ mission was not necessarily to die on the cross, it was to do the will of the Father. The cup (death and separation) had not yet been made one with the Father’s will, they were not yet synonymous. The cup could be removed, but the Father’s will could not be changed. Was there any other way, Jesus cried? No, there was no other way. Jesus, who had the power and authority to say no, chose instead to say yes in order to fulfill His Father’s will. In that moment the cup and the Father’s will became one, and for the sake of the Father’s love for us, Jesus was crucified.
Every single one of us are faced with the same choice, believers and unbelievers alike. Somewhere in our lifetime we will face a cup that has been set before us, a mountain that by faith we want removed or thrown into the sea (1 Corinthians 13:2; Psalm 46:2). Will we embrace, or will we abandon? Those of us who call out to Abba, Father, may have heart-rendering prayers that express our raw honesty before Him. Is this cup before us His will? Can it be removed from us and His will and purpose still be accomplished, and He is still glorified?
Sometimes the only way for the “mountain to be thrown into the sea” is to drink the cup.