Luke 22:41-44 | “Then he went off from them about the distance of a stone’s throw and knelt down and prayed. ‘Father,’ he said, ‘if you will, take this cup of suffering away from me. Not my will, however, but your will be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. In great anguish he prayed even more fervently; his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
My mom turns 90 this month. She has dementia. She knew me the last time I saw her, but she can’t remember what was said two minutes ago. As you can imagine, having a conversation with her can be a challenge.Due to a stroke she had a few years ago, Mom is unable to walk. Unfortunately, she doesn’t remember she cannot walk. Because of the confusion, she tries several times a day to get out of her wheelchair, which sometimes results in her falling. Fortunately, Mom has tough bones and out of the 70+ times she has fallen, she has not broken a thing!
The skilled nursing facility where she resides describes her as “feisty”. My sisters and I know they are being kind in their description. Mom was “uninvited” from two previous facilities. This one is not as convenient to get to, but the upside is they are understanding and kind about her behavior. We are confident their humane treatment of Mom is a direct answer to prayer. We are asking God to allow her to remain where she is until he calls her home.
I always knew my mom to be a patient and loving person — ready and willing to serve her family and church. She was a quiet woman, always ready to listen. It is difficult to watch such a shift in her personality. In my human reasoning, I wrestle with God about why he is keeping her here.
When I am able to visit her every six months or so, my mind and spirit are left with the imprint of her frightened look when I kiss her goodbye.
What do I pray for my mom?
It’s her suffering I want God to remove — and mine — and my sisters’.
Jesus had some of those same feelings when he said, “If you will, take this cup of suffering away from me.” But he submitted to his father and said, “Not my will, however, but your will be done.” God heard his cry and sent an angel.
“An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.”
I notice the angel didn’t change the circumstances, but perhaps gave him strength to be able to pray fervently and endure what was ahead. God sometimes sends me “angels of encouragement” in the women I talk to from my mom’s facility.
“He prayed even more fervently.”
I ask myself, what did he pray for more fervently? Perhaps he was praying for courage, acceptance, or the ability to trust his father. And so I turn again to prayer:
“Father, help me to trust you and leave my momma in your hands alone. Help me to understand that you see her and love her, and that time is never lost or wasted with you.”
QUESTIONS FOR APPLICATION
- What in your life right now feels not “fixable”? How does this weigh on you?
- How might God want you to pray? Take a moment to pray in that way — perhaps asking for angels of encouragement, for strength, or for the ability to surrender these things into God’s hands.
This reading is a part of our "Small Feet Big Shoes" devotional series. You can also sign up to receive these meditations by email.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Delores Horn and her husband, Scott, started working with CRM in 1980. They are part of the ChurchNext Collective, splitting their time between Baton Rouge and Southern California.