This morning at church, our pastor brought up a point I’ve never heard before. He said that Jesus’ “cup of suffering” wasn’t about taking on the sins of the world, or the pain that he would endure while carrying the cross, being whipped or dying on the cross, but rather that the suffering he didn’t want to endure was about being separated from the presence of the Father. That is something Jesus had never been without.
Now, being without the presence of God may not seem like much. Maybe you’ve never even experienced being in the presence of the Father, but as I started to unpack that thought, I started to understand the gravity of what Jesus was facing.
Eleven, almost 12, years ago, I lost my mom to cancer. It’s been almost 12 years without being in her presence. The week leading up to her death was extremely difficult. It was a time where we, as a family (and friends), were realizing that the time with my mom was coming to an end. That week was the worst and hardest week of my life, knowing that, very soon, I would no longer get to enjoy the presence of my mom.
And she was just that… my mom… a mortal, flawed (but so incredibly important and vital in my life) human being.
But tonight, as I was processing this separation with God the Father, my mind went to that time leading up to and after my mom’s death. My heart was breaking again as I thought of what I’ve been missing. In the immediate time after her death, I couldn’t function. My whole world was turned upside down, and my closest friend and biggest encourager was no longer here to help me through it.
Now jump to God the Father. How much greater is he than my mom? I mean, my mom was an amazing woman of faith, but she wasn’t God, nor could she even come close to competing. If I had such a hard time with being separated from a human’s presence, how much more would Jesus, who had never been separated from his Father’s presence be? I don’t think I will ever really grasp that, but it put things into perspective for me.
How devastated am I when I’m not walking in the presence of God the Father? Do I even notice? And if not, how do I get to the place where the thought of not being in his presence leaves me broken?