Barbie and I were at a funeral yesterday. It was one of those funerals that left you feeling uplifted and encouraged because of the clear testimony of the person’s life combined with the obvious amount of abundant grace exhibited by the family’s faith in God. I’m only guessing here, but there must have been 2000+ people in attendance and the tributes to his godly life and testimony were strong and powerful. The highlight of the funeral was the wife’s account of the events surrounding his death beginning with her husband collapsing on the bathroom floor, the 911 call, the medics working tirelessly on him and the growing realization that her husband was dead. She kept saying to herself “I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this”!
The wife’s own testimony became all too apparent as she correlated this phrase to Jesus in the garden as He wept drops of blood telling His heavenly Father “I don’t want to do this – but not My will but Thine be done”.
I began to think about all the times I have said this phrase “I don’t want to do this” in the context of some task in front of me that was hard or painful to face. There were times I pressed through the obvious deterrents to complete the task but there were all too many times I shrank back convincing myself it was not worth it or that it will be just too painful to endure.
I’m not talking about putting off going to the store or mowing the lawn on a particularly hot day. I’m talking about those times I was confronted with some hard life challenge or life and death itself. I remember when the doctors told us Brandi would most likely get sicker and sicker and die before she was 30, I didn’t want to do that. Or after having packed up our family of 8 and going off to the mission field only to have it fall apart because of very painful betrayals and having to come back to Tulsa with “our tails between our legs”, I didn’t want to do that either.
How about those more self serving things like the Lord confronting me about dealing with lust and pornography, I sure didn’t want to do that. Or learning to edit my angry reactions to people, I still don’t want to do that.
And then there is church leadership who is put in the hard place of watching congregants blatantly violate God’s laws whether it be in relationship to divorce, gossip, sexual sins or any of the other “trending” vices forbidden in scripture. Understandably they don’t want to do that. It’s uncomfortable to confront sin, hold people accountable and especially to take the oft commanded step of shunning unrepentant “repeat offenders” – we for sure don’t want to do that.
So I bring myself, my family, my friends and the church back to that place of Jesus in the garden who understood better than us all saying “I don’t want to do this” and yet His total commitment to pleasing the Father in His final choice “nevertheless not My will but Thine be done”!
In Memory – Eric Doy Raines – 1964 – 2014