The passage that captures my heart in today’s Daily Office comes from the gospel of John. Jesus has just predicted his death, and he will soon set off upon the path that leads inexorably to his arrest, his suffering and his crucifixion. Quite understandably, Jesus does not relish the trial that awaits him, and so he says: “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’?” (John 12:27a)
Isn’t that more-or-less exactly what we want to say when facing difficult times? “Father, this is going to be painful or frightening, stressful or debilitating. I don’t want to deal with it. Won’t you get me out of this? Won’t you save me?”
Thankfully, of course, God allows us to be honest with Him about the fears that we experience. (After all, if Jesus can confess anxiety about his approaching ordeal, certainly we can, too.) And what’s more, God is gracious and compassionate, and He often grants our request. He saves us from impending calamity and brings us out the other side rejoicing.
But notice how Jesus responds to his own question: “No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27b-28) Yes, Jesus wanted to be spared suffering. But even more, He wanted His Father to be glorified. He wanted others to witness and understand the self-giving love that He and His Father had shared since before the creation of the world.
Can we follow that example? Well, maybe. And then again, maybe not. But what we can do, I think, is to ask God to create the kind of heart within us that evaluates our circumstances – not solely in terms of what they mean for us – but instead, in terms of how God can work through our circumstances to point others to His goodness, His faithfulness, and His love.
I pray, then, that our day will be free of impending crises from which we need to be saved. But even if there are some challenges and heartaches to navigate, may God be glorified in us. And may the peace of God – which transcends all understanding – guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.