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From Struggle to Surrender

prayerThen he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” ~Matthew 26:38-39

The Story

Not long ago I read The Laird’s Inheritance, by George MacDonald. Cosmo, the main character, is firmly committed to a righteous path, but this leads to a financial crisis where he could lose everything. In this scene, we see Cosmo’s fierce inner struggle:

The Conflict

He lay still, with a stone in his heart, for he was now awake to the fact that he could not say, “Thy will be done.” He strained to lift up his heart, but could not. Something had arisen between him and his God and beat back his prayer. A thick fog was about him. In his heart not one prayer would come to life.

It was too terrible! Here was a schism at the very root of his being. The love of things was closer to him than the love of God. Between him and God rose the rude bulk of a castle of stone. He crept out of bed, lay on his face on the floor, and prayed in an agony. The wind roared and howled, but the desolation of his heart made it seem as nothing.

“God!” he cried, “I thought I knew you, and sought your will. And now I am ashamed before you. I cannot even pray. But hear my deepest will in me. Hear the prayer I cannot offer. Be my perfect Father to fulfill the imperfection of your child. Be God after your own nature, beyond my feeling, beyond my prayer. You know me better a thousand times than I know myself—hear and save me. Make me strong to yield to you. I have no way of confessing you before men at this moment, but in the depth of my thought I would confess you and yield everything but the truth, which is yourself. And there, even while my heart hangs back, I force my mouth to say the words—take from me what you will, only make me clean, pure, divine. To you I yield the house and all that is in it. It is yours, not mine. Give it to whom you will. I would have nothing but what you choose shall be mine. I have you, and all things are mine.”

Prayer

Lord, in our Gethsemanes, give us grace to pray like this.