The Cup of Suffering

A few days ago I came across a quote, “I will drink every drop of my cup of suffering so I don’t miss one thing God wants to teach me”. So often I don’t feel like even taking a sip from that cup or I’ll take one sip thinking that will be enough for God to remove the cup. We all find ourselves in seasons or situations we’d rather not go through, but instead bypass.

Suffering can be a strong word. Sometimes it’s more like unmet expectations, because, “Hello, God, have you not heard me down here praying?!” Other times it can be a season of disappointment as I stare at my unmet desires. In my stubbornness to take a drink from the cup set before me, I choke on envy or pride. I am stuck focused only upon how the cup before me is not what I want, not focused on the One who has allowed the cup to be placed before me.

We do not have to feel guilty with our desire to remove the cup. Jesus was not to fond of the cup placed before Him either. In Matthew 26, Jesus asked God three times to take the cup: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me”. Jesus was bold enough to ask for the cup to be taken away. But He was also reverent enough to acknowledge its value:

“Nevertheless, not as I will; but as you will.” (v.39)

“My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” (v. 42)

There didn’t seem to be a lot of good in the cross in the moment. There was no joy for Abraham as he walked Issac up the mountain. Esther didn’t rejoice that she was risking her life to save her people. David didn’t skip up to Goliath humming a catchy tune. Yet, they all drank from the cup anyway. Why? Because there was a greater hope in what was unseen than what was seen. What God would establish through the cup of suffering was far greater than the bitter taste the cup had to offer.

Our cup of suffering can be what allows God to mold us into exactly who He needs us to be. It can lay a foundation for greater communion with Him and open doors to trust Him more deeply. The cup, whatever that looks like for you, is not meant to be easy to accept or to drink; but it is a necessary reckoning to get us where God is leading us.

-Morgan Easley

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