Drinking the bitter cup

I don’t want to go through this.

I don’t want this to be my life.

I don’t want an addicted child, or an ill spouse, or the stigma of bankruptcy or divorce. I don’t want my plans to fail or my best efforts to come up short. I don’t want to drink a cup of anything other than victory or happily-ever-after.

But if I have to…

If there is no other option beside walking this path or living this life—if there is nothing to be done besides drinking the cup—then God bring it on, and strengthen me to drink every last drop.

That’s what Jesus did. He drank the cup when everything in Him wanted to find an easier way. He asked for the cup to be removed, but even as the words were out of His mouth He added a caveat, “Yet not my will, but yours be done.”

No one likes every cup that gets presented to them. No one wants to drink some of the bitter brews that life can concoct. But Jesus showed us two things about drinking them.

First, He showed us how to drink it like a champion, like a Son. He said essentially, “Father, I don’t want to live through this moment, but if I have to, then I am going to show the world what it looks like to live courageously in a tragic story. I am going to worship my way through this pain, and I am going to trust that you will carry me through.”

Second, He showed us that sometimes there is life in the bottom of the cup. Sometimes the bitterest brew is actually a life-giving potion. Jesus was betrayed and executed, and behold, there was an Easter Sunday and redemption!

Isn’t it interesting that the two most dominant symbols of the Christian faith are the cross and the cup? Both of those symbols represent death—the cross on which He died and the communion cup with which we remember it—and yet they also represent life.

I can’t promise you that a great life will emerge from the tragedies of your story. I can’t promise you an immediate breakthrough on the other side of your cup. But I can promise you that if you have to drink it anyway, and if you drink it like His daughter or son, you will bring heaven to its feet in ovation, you will become a wiser, deeper soul, and you will become a page or a canvas where God’s larger redemption story can be written for the world to read.

Since we have to drink it anyway, bottom’s up!

10 thoughts on “Drinking the bitter cup

  1. Well done Chris, truly. Certainly a challenge for me to put into daily practice…but I’ll keep plugging away …as we all do

  2. Thank you Chris. I haven’t been able to drink of the cup, or to grieve Stephen’s drug addiction and his prison sentences for quite awhile. Seeing the eternal perspective has graced me to face this and to allow the Father to be glorified, even in this. Gail

  3. Great thought. I’ve found going through His refining fire, once through, one looks back and craves the closest walk you have when going through it. Isn’t Our Lord awesome.

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