Want to Swap Places?

January 11, 2021

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.
Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
– Luke 22:42 (ESV)

Life has a way of getting our attention! In an instant, the routine can be replaced by the unexpected. The day of my brother’s open-heart surgery had arrived. The pre-operation tests had been completed the day before and now my sister and I stood over him as he waited to be wheeled into the surgery room. Nervous small talk and anxious glances were exchanged as time tapped the brakes. He held out his hand to take ours and we had a special time of prayer. No sooner had we gotten “Amen” out of our mouths, he looked straight into my eyes and said with a smile, “You want to swap places?” My honest reply was “No.” That question kept playing in my mind as we waited for word on his surgery. Somewhere in my thoughts I realized that while I didn’t want to swap places with my brother, I would be willing to do it if it were necessary. Why, because I love him and would do anything for him. Praise God, the surgery was a complete success.

The life and death of Jesus teach us a great deal. We can’t fully comprehend what Jesus was experiencing in the hours leading up to His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. He certainly knew what the future held, but being God and man, he asked what we all would ask, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me.” In my own mind I hear the question as, “God, I’ll do it, but if there is another way, I’m listening.” Jesus wasn’t trying to get out of God’s plan for Him, but we can be certain that He didn’t look forward to the trial that lay ahead. We know that because He was committed to the will of His Father and lived it out through His death on the cross. I could not take my brother’s place as he prepared for surgery and no one else could take Jesus’ place as He died for the sins of the world. The irony of this is that Jesus swapped places with us. Why? Because He loves us and would do anything for us.

Father, Your love for me is unlimited. Help me to see my trials as part of Your plan to make me the person You want me to be. Amen.

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