But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to Him, “We are able.” Matthew 20:22 (NASB)
By the time you read this, my household should be well as we have been sick. It’s been a rough week and I got sick first. However before I had any chance to recover, Bob became ill. That’s when life became interesting, especially since we didn’t have the same thing. (This baffled the doctor, who rendered assistance anyway.)
Being sick, we did the things sick folks do. Moaned, groaned and laid around like zombies. Bob was banished to the spare room where neither us of us would catch what the other had, on top of our own disease. Now, I must admit, Bob took the worst part of the deal. Cold and sinus infection were my enemies. Bob picked up some kind of tummy virus and couldn’t even eat Jell-O.
He spent many hours being nauseous. Now I am sure I don’t have to explain the difference between queasy and down-right naw-seous. One makes you miserable; the other affords you the opportunity to imitate Linda Blair in the Exorcist.
Personally, I hate the feeling. In fact, if the CIA ever needed to get information from me, forget the bamboo shoots under the fingernails, just make me sick and I’ll tell you whatever you want to know and if I don’t know anything, I’ll make up a real good story!
Okay, I know this is not a pleasant subject and I bet you are wondering why I am telling you this. Well, there is a point amidst the gory details.
The point being, Bob was not queasy. I felt so bad for him and told him on several occasions that day, if I could be sick for him, I would and I meant it. The only thing more pitiful than a sick child is a sick husband.
Later that night, I woke up about 2:30 in the morning, let us say, to render aid to my husband. After making a few cold compresses and assured he was ready to go back to sleep, I headed back to bed – still not feeling well myself.
I wasn’t in bed for two seconds when I felt my own tummy take a turn. I thought, this is it, I’ve gotten Bob’s virus. I moved quickly to be near places one should be near when feeling this way. In that moment, I remembered my earlier words to Bob thinking God had taken my up on my offer. The waves of nausea hit hard and I felt close to passing out. Then a split second later, I heard my mind call out to God saying, “I take it back, I don’t want this!” It was not my proudest moment.
In my defense, I recanted that statement a few seconds later when I realized what I was thinking and how horrible it sounded. But God got the message across. Yes, I actually believe it was a message from God. After fifteen minutes (which seemed like a year), my tummy settled down and I went back to bed without any “ill” effects.
However, I laid there for quite a while pondering the dose of medicine God gave me, so perhaps I would better sympathize with my sweet husband, who did not ask to be sick. It also was a VERY vivid reminder of my need for the Savior. I thought of Peter’s denial and of today’s verse, and of how quick I could change my tune when the suffering became mine.
Matthew 20:22 was Christ’s response to one mis-motivated mother’s request. Sometimes we say things without realizing exactly what we’re asking for or committing to. Then when the reality of our words hits us squarely between the eyes – we are forced to confront our own weaknesses and sin. We are faced with the facts that as strong as we think we are at times, we are not. Christ told the disciples at the Garden of Gethsemane, “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” (Matt 26:41)
For the same reason, we needed His death, we needed His birth. For without one, the other is meaningless. As we look to the Reason for this Season, let us start by confronting our own weaknesses and personal need for a Savior. May the Holy Spirit take my experience and use it your life to do just that!