A Bitter Cup

I went for a walk with a friend a couple of days ago. Once we parted, I walked the short distance home alone. It was then I realized that the last time I strode on that particular sidewalk, I was pushing Curt in his wheelchair. My heart squeezed tight—so many firsts. Every day, I plod along with homesickness and longing that nothing on this earth can fill. A bitter cup was placed on my lips, and I was forced to drink it. Half of me wishes I had died with Curt on September 25th. But then I think of my children and grandchildren, God's calling on my life, and I know my work isn't complete. There are lives I must touch and prayers I must pray. So I join my voice to the Apostle Paul's and say, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sakes." (Philippians 1:21-23 NASB) 

No one understands better what I'm going through than Jesus. Not that I compare my sorrow to His. Not at all. Although blameless, He suffered for my sin. Coming to earth meant false accusations, hatred, deceptions, and the painful death of a criminal. He did nothing to deserve such shame. Can you imagine how homesick for heaven He must have been? The price for our salvation was a bitter cup only He could drink. J.R. Miller describes it well in The Ministry of Comfort.

The record says He was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. "Being in agony He prayed." The Holy Sufferrer pleaded that the cup of bitter anguish now being held to His lips might pass from Him. Never was more intense prayer offered to the Father. But amid the anguished pleading, was heard the self restraining word of submission, "Not My will—but Yours, be done." There was something more important than the granting of the suppliant's request—it was that the purpose of God for Him that hour should go on unhindered.

There is no other way by which true comfort can come to any heart in time of sorrow but by acquiescence. So long as we cannot say, "Not my will—but Yours, be done," the struggle is still going on, and we are still uncomforted.

~ J.R. Miller

I choose to surrender to God's will for me. I cannot hide from sorrow. I embrace the pain and endure it so that I may be healed. At the same time, I'm keeping my eyes on Jesus and reminding myself that He's in control. "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28) Somehow...someway...this is all for good in my life. It's hard to fathom it now, but I believe His Word. I must also keep in mind that when God promises good things to me, I may not see the fulfillment until eternity. This earth is only temporary, and so is my loss. Eternity will last forever.

Curt wrote a blog post in 2003 called, Uh, Excuse Me! With it, he posted a picture of a buffalo in the middle of the driving lane, with oncoming traffic on the other side. It speaks to me today:

Sometimes things move slowly. Sometimes they come to a grinding halt. So, how do I make progress with a buffalo in the way? I suppose I could pass the beast. Hmm, on the left that would mean a head-on collision. On the right, a soft shoulder followed by a respite in the ditch. Maybe I should shoot the beast. Uh, no, very illegal. Plus, the thing is cute in an ugly sort of way. I think I'll just stay on track and wait this one out.

I don't know what buffalo is impeding your progress today. Buffalos take on all shapes and sizes. Don't do anything drastic. Just stay on track. They do move eventually. You'll get moving again.

~ Curt Dalaba

Today, I choose to surrender to God, to stay on track, and to trust Him. After Curt's funeral, Lara, a friend from church, gave me a gold necklace with three letters engraved on it: YES. After opening the gift, I looked at her. She saw the question in my eyes. "It's for the times you don't understand. It's to remind you that you said, 'yes' to trusting God." I cannot tell you the countless times my hand has reached up to my neck and my thumb caressed the letters as tears streamed down my face. I said, "Yes." I meant it. I haven't changed my mind, nor will I.

YES

Yes to all He commands.
Yes to wherever He leads.
Yes to however He expands me.
Yes to every rebuke.
Yes to every new task.
Yes to every surprise.
Yes to every gift He gives.
Yes to every gift I must give.
Yes to every insight.
Yes to every correction.
Yes to whatever He's doing.
Yes to silence.
Yes to jubilant rejoicing.
Yes to subtle speaking.
Yes to clarity's boldness.
Yes to day-by-day plodding.
Yes to miracles.
Yes to challenges.
Yes to servanthood.
Yes to exaltation.
Yes to divine prodding.
Yes to Jesus formed in me.
Yes to my will dying.
Yes to divine compliments.
Yes to divine instruction.
Yes to avenues unknown.
Yes to momentary roadblocks.
Yes to alternatives revealed.
Yes to the unexpected.
Yes to heavenly care.
Yes to heavenly silence.
Yes to humble pleading.
Yes to boldness, claiming.
Yes to old self dying.
Yes to resurrection life.
Yes to others' glory.
Yes to vineyard weeding.
Yes to vineyard sweating.
Yes to vineyard waiting.
Yes to vineyard disappointing.
Yes to joyous vineyard harvesting.
Yes to the Spirit's secret working.
Yes to joy unspeakable.

~ Curt Dalaba

By

Anneliese Dalaba

January 19, 2022