Twice this weekend the same passage of Scripture came up for me. Once on Saturday while I was doing some devotions, and once today during Pastor Ed's message. In both contexts, it was about forgiveness. I've prayed and prayed if there was anyone in my life I was struggling to forgive, and have come up empty. (That's a good thing, yay for good people in my life!) But, as I mulled over this passage in my mind, I realized there was a lesson for me in the words.
"When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was an olive grove, and he and his disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, "Who is it you want?"
"Jesus of Nazareth," they replied.
"I am he," Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)
When Jesus said, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground.
Again he asked them, "Who is it you want?"
And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."
"I told you that I am he," Jesus answered. "If you are looking for me, then let these men go."
This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: "I have not lost one of those you gave me."
Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.)
Jesus commanded Peter, "Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"
Peter...the disciple so many of us identify with. As Pastor Ed said, he seemed to have a "foot shaped mouth", always saying the wrong thing or making some kind of mistake. He acted before he thought things out. Peter swore his allegiance to Jesus. If you were passionately loyal to someone, like Peter was to Jesus, and their life was being threatened...and you had a sword...wouldn't you do something about it? Peter did. He reached out with his sword and took a swipe at that soldier, cutting off his ear. The thing is, Jesus never asked him to do that. Jesus never wanted Peter to fight a battle for him. Jesus knew that He was to follow in God's will, even if that will meant His own death on the cross.
I felt a bit Peter-ish in our battle against cancer. Like I was cutting off ears in an effort to save Isaac, when his earthly healing was never God's plan. I read about other people brandishing their swords in the battle against cancer, too. Cutting off an ear here, maybe a finger, if you're lucky - a whole leg...refusing to accept that their loved one's cup might be death. Please don't misunderstand me, I'm certainly not saying that I think anyone fighting cancer with a poor prognosis should just give up. But, during Isaac's last weeks here, I was the one who had to decide it was useless to continue giving him treatment. That was one of the hardest decisions I had to make. But, looking back, I know that giving him another IV of medication would have been like Peter cutting off that soldier's ear. Sure it might have hurt the cancer a little bit, but it wasn't going to stop it and it wasn't going to prevent or even prolong the inevitable. It was in that decision, that God said to me "Put your sword away!" and asked me to just allow Isaac to drink the cup God had given him.
That's where my peace comes from. That's why when people ask me "How are you doing" with a sad look in their eyes, I can look back at them and smile and say "Better than I ever expected to be". I am just so sure that Isaac is in Heaven and that this was God's plan all along. I also know that if I can get through this time in my life, God will get me through anything. He didn't abandon me in this time of need, He is right by my side every single step of the way. I'll just keep putting my own sword away, and let Him fight it out for me!