For all my efforts to be like Jesus, I don’t know that I ever identified with him as much as I did when I was nearing the end of my life.

Following the call to live in one of the unreached corners of the Arab world – single – felt like an end to my life, or at least life as I knew it.

Jesus uttered such provoking, beautifully comforting words when he was nearing the end of his life. My Lord, in a moment of great weakness, engaged in negotiations with the God of the universe. What audacity. What humanness.
Father, if it is your will, take this cup from me.

His heart was groaning, his mouth acknowledging the inevitable. Jesus had free will. His words indicated that he’d choose differently if the choice was entirely his. But his life, by choice, was fully surrendered to the Father. That meant death.

For the glory of God.

From childhood, I chose a life fully surrendered to the Father. I was His to use as He desired. Some of the journeys He led pinched and poked, but none made me count the cost like the journey stretching out before me – moving to the Arabian Peninsula to lift Jesus high in a place where he was virtually unknown. This was going to hurt.
Father, if it is your will, take this cup from me.

Jesus, when entering the Garden of Gethsemane, admitted to his disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” He was beginning the grieving process. I could identify: the closer I got to my departure date, the more my soul grew heavy with the weight of my undertaking. I wasn’t alone—God had promised His presence—but He had called me to this journey. No one could go with me. No one could go for me. It was mine alone.

In perfect submission, Jesus had said to the Father,
Father, if it is your will, take this cup from me.

My soul echoed, Me too, Father. Me too.

Two thousand years apart, Jesus and I were caught in that same tension of wanting desperately to bring glory to the Father while being mindful of the cost. I found great solace in Jesus’ honesty in admitting that God’s desire wasn’t His desire, yet choosing God’s will over his own. I could identify with the crushing weight in his groanings. Yet if Jesus saw fit to honor the Father, I could too.

Jesus followed those words closely with Yet not as I will, but as You will.
Broken, I uttered those words too.

I may never have to identify with physical suffering like Jesus or his early followers. But I can identify–in some small way–my choices between my will and God’s will, between glorifying myself or Himself, between living for myself or living dead to myself so I can glorify Him.

And now I’m learning to live in the abundance made possible by Jesus’ resurrection.
Annie* is a missionary with Live Dead Arab World.

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