Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed. Matthew 26:39
I’ve been thinking a lot about a little farther.
When Jesus was preparing for his death, he took his close friends with him to Gethsemane to pray. Three of those friends he took with him further into the garden. But even those three couldn’t go as far as Jesus needed to go.
Where he was heading, he had to go alone.
I am definitely not Jesus, and my circumstances are a bit less consequential.
But I am beginning to understand a little farther.
I haven’t slept well for months. Early on because of the fear of the unknowns. More recently because of the physical discomfort that comes with the breast reconstruction process and the anxiousness that comes with not knowing whether or not chemo is in your future.
When it’s 2 a.m. and I’m on my recliner in my dark living room, frustrated about cancer and trying to get comfortable enough to sleep, I am a little farther.
I have some close friends who have walked with me into the garden. We group text on an almost daily basis. We have laughed, cried and prayed together through little blips of conversations on our phones. Some days they have been my lifeline. But they can’t do 2 a.m. with me.
There is a dear soul to whom I can shoot the craziest texts or call at any time knowing she gets me. Even when I’m completely out of my mind she gets me. But she can’t do 2 a.m. with me.
And then there is Corey. Who sees me at my worst and is still crazy enough to love me. Who puts me first always. Who tells me I’m beautiful with my scars when I look in the mirror and see ugly.
But though he would let me stay back and go a little farther for me if he could, he can’t. He would take my fears, my frustrations, my stress, my pain, my sleeplessness upon himself if it was possible. But it’s not.
So here I am. 2 a.m. A little farther.
I try to be like Jesus, who pleaded with the father to take the cup from him, but followed his plea with “Thy will be done.”
I get stuck at “Take this cup.”
I want to say “Thy will be done.” But quite honestly, in this moment, I can’t.
What I do instead is barter for my own will. I promise I will…if you will just…
I know that’s not how it works.
I want to let go and I want to trust. I just can’t.
But I will.
Just not this night. Not at 2 a.m.
My comfort in those middle-of-the-night moments is in knowing that even when I can’t pry my hands from my own will, God doesn’t bow out. He knows how hard this is for me. He knows I don’t want my flesh to defeat my spirit. He sees my battle, and he doesn’t leave me. He waits.
And when eventually the sun comes up, and the world looks different, and I am able to at last say “your will be done,” he doesn’t punish me for my delayed trust.
Instead when I open my Bible he speaks to me with something like this.
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he. I am he who will sustain you. I am he who made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:4)
And that makes a little farther beautiful.
(BTW – Though I will be on a drug called Tomoxifen for 10 years, I do not need chemo. Hallelujah!)