Easter is the sacred season of celebrating the greatest event in all history, whether earthly or heavenly, human or divine. The power of Christ’s resurrection – and our resurrection to come – is the heart and soul of the Christian faith. Without it our faith is meaningless, our hope a hollow sham.
But the story of Easter isn’t as simple as we sometimes think. It starts before the discovery of the empty tomb. It’s rooted in a scene that takes place prior to the horrors of the cross. It grows out of the anguished prayer Jesus offered when no one but His Father was listening: “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.”
Considered honestly and objectively, this is one of the greatest unanswered prayers of all time. Its object was release from the agonies of crucifixion. That object wasn’t granted.
Perhaps you can relate. Maybe you’ve prayed, “If it be possible, let this tumor shrink,” or “grant me a good paying job,” or “help my son see the error of his ways.” Perhaps you’ve prayed this way over and over again only to be disappointed. Maybe you’ve actually reached the point of wondering, “What’s the use of praying at all?” If so, it’s time to think again.
Prayer is a mystery. It always receives an answer, but that answer doesn’t always look the way we thought it might. It’s been said that God’s response sometimes matches the prayer we would have prayed if we had known everything He knows before opening our mouths.
That’s the way it worked on that first Easter morning. When it did come, the answer to Christ’s Gethsemane prayer came as a complete surprise to the world. It was astonishing. It was transformational. It brought new hope and conferred new life. But it didn’t do any of this by avoiding the pain of the cross. Instead, it passed through that pain and emerged gloriously on the other side.
The same thing can happen for you. Your answer, when it arrives, will probably be something you could never have imagined in a million years. But it will meet your true need precisely. That will be a moment of unspeakable joy.
Meanwhile, your Heavenly Father doesn’t blame you for desiring release from your present trials. He doesn’t chide you for seeking a way of escape. Instead, He empathizes with you, enfolds you in His arms, and exults in the secret thought of the glory to which He’s planning to raise you at the end. He rejoices over you, just as He rejoiced over the Savior in the Garden.
Want to know more? Then visit Focus on the Family’s website, take a look at our Q&A on “Unanswered Prayer,” and consider procuring a copy of Beth Moore’s book Praying God’s Word. It’s available via our Online Store.