“Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” -John 18:11
How could Jesus say that looking at the cross? Because He knew and trusted the love—the perfect love—the Father had for Him, even while asking the Father to take this cup of the cross away from Him.A. W. Tozer, a pastor and author in the first half of the twentieth century, pointed out that “to the child of God, there is no such thing as an accident. He travels an appointed way … Accidents may indeed appear to befall him and misfortune stalks his way; but these evils will be seen in appearance only, and will seem evil only because we cannot read the secret script of God’s hidden providence.”
As the theologian R.C. Sproul puts it in his book “The Invisible Hand”, “For the Christian every tragedy is ultimately a blessing, or God is a liar.”
Of course, tragedies and sorrows don’t feel good or look good. But that’s not what matters. What matters is God has locked Himself into a law that says He will accomplish His highest good for us—even out of our sorrows—in His time, and in His way. As the early church father Augustine is quoted as saying, “God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to suffer no evil to exist.” So, never forget, our sorrows will turn out to have a purpose behind them. They are not random. Good will come of them. In God’s time, in God’s way.
Indeed, the ultimate proof that God uses everything to accomplish His good purposes is Jesus’ own death on the cross. The cross was the greatest evil ever committed. Yet through the cross God brought about the greatest good any of us can ever know: forgiveness of our sins and a restored relationship with God.
What enabled Jesus to face the cross? It was not merely human courage. The account of Jesus’ agony in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:37-44) shows even He flinched as He contemplated the realities of what was coming. I paraphrase His prayer: Father, isn’t there another way? Can’t I drink a different cup? I’ve read Psalm 22 (which prophetically describes the agony the Messiah would face), and it doesn’t look good. I would really like You to know I’m all in with the way You’ve arranged things, if that’s the best way to bring about Your glory. Not My will, but Yours be done!
Why could Jesus say that? Because He knew His Father loved Him perfectly. He knew that the Father would never ask Him to go through the shame and agony of the cross and the horror of breaking their fellowship unless the Father’s love had His highest good in view. So, He could say (again, I paraphrase): I’m willing to trust. If You say drink the cup, I’m going to drink the cup. Never forget, Jesus drank His cup, and may the Jesus in us all drink the “cup” He gives each of us. As Jesus said, “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.