The refuge in sorrow
(J.R. Miller, 1905) LISTEN to audio! Download audio
(You will find it helpful to listen to the audio above, as you read the text below.)
Where to go in sorrow is one of life's great questions. For there are none to whom sorrow does not come at some time. The Master, whose footprints are on all life's paths, shows us the way to the refuge in the time of trouble. He found it in prayer. "Being in agony, He prayed."
We may listen at the gate of the Garden of Gethsemane, and learn how our Master prayed. He was facing a great sorrow and He pleaded with His Father, that it might not come to Him. We have a right, therefore, to ask in prayer that the trouble which seems imminent may pass, or that we may be relieved of the bitter anguish we are enduring. God will never blame us for such pleading.
There was another element, however, in our Lord's praying. In His most intense pleading for the passing of His sorrow, He still referred all to His Father. "Nevertheless, not as I will—but as You will."
There is no true prayer, which is not modeled after this pattern. We do not know what is best. We do not know what is in the sorrow for us, for others, or for the divine glory; nor what would be lost if we failed to endure it. We must leave all with our Father, saying, "Nevertheless, not as I will—but as You will."
Then the Master found the comfort which He sought.
His prayer was answered. The cup of suffering did not pass. The bitterness was not lessened in the smallest degree.
So far as we know, not a single cruel element in the terrible experience
was eliminated or even mitigated, because of the prayer in the Garden.
The answer came in another way. The Holy Sufferer was strengthened to accept the sorrow and endure it! And was not that an answer? Was it not a better answer, than if the dreadful anguish had been diminished? The pleading grew less intense as He went back again and again into the depths of the Garden, and at the end—the struggle was over, victory had been won, and He was at peace!
Prayer is always answered. It is answered either directly in the giving to us of what we ask; or in ourselves, in enabling us to accept the will of God and rejoice. We shall never seek this refuge of prayer in vain. We shall always find comfort there, and peace—and always God will meet us to strengthen us!
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Something to ponder:
John Calvin, "The human heart is a factory of idols. Everyone of us is, from his mother's womb, expert in inventing idols!"