We often hear that we should follow our passion and our calling, use our spiritual gifts. This is true, but sometimes God calls us to do something, and we may not feel very passionate about it, or gifted enough, yet we know it is what He wants us to do. We get excited to follow Him anywhere, but when the rubber must meet the road, our flesh screeches us to a halt.
Jesus was in turmoil and anguish when he and his three disciples approached the Garden of Gethsemene. He wandered a short distance from them and dropped to the ground, overwhelmed with distress. Deep distress. Face down physically in the garden but emotionally before the throne of His Father, seeking His face, he expressed his deepest emotions. He lived his whole life in submission to His Father’s will. Everything he did, every act of service, was an act of submission. But this was too hard.
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26:39.
Jesus asked if there was some other way. He knew His Father could do anything, so he asked that the cup of suffering be taken away. He still wanted the Father’s will, but perhaps there some alternative to fulfilling His Father’s redemptive plan? As he converses with the Father, he bravely accepts the reality that there is not, but that the Father would give him the supernatural strength He needed to follow through. At the end, he wakes his sleeping disciples who seem oblivious to the significance of the moment, and says “Rise, let us go.” The time had come, and he was ready to face it head on. He was ready to fulfill what he was called to do, whatever the cost.
Our spirit may be eager to follow Jesus, whatever the cost, excited to do His will, whatever it is, but when it gets right down to it, when that moment comes, we hesitate. Maybe we don’t feel emotionally prepared to handle it, or we feel tired, or we are afraid we won’t do it right, or it’s just completely inconvenient. Maybe it doesn’t jive with what we feel like doing.
In the moment, we have a choice. When we know God wants us to do it, but our feelings or emotions are in conflict, we must drop to the floor on our face and ask God for the strength, to submit our flesh to His will. And if even then our feelings don’t match up, maybe God just wants us to move forward in obedience, in spite of our feelings. While our feelings affect our actions, it is also true that our actions affect how we feel, and once we act in obedience, then God will bless with the alignment of our emotions.