Father Knows Best
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from Him. “Abba, Father,” He said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will but what you will.” Mark 14:35-36 (NIV)
I’m going to hint at my age by referring to a television sitcom I enjoyed watching in my youth. “Father Knows Best” was very popular and aired from 1954-1960. As a child, I found myself longing for the perfect father and the perfect family as I watched the show each week. I admit it was difficult to wrap my head around a family routine where the father never took his coat and tie off, the mother cooked every meal in heels, and the children appeared to be wearing Easter outfits at all times. But what I really loved was the father who seemed to solve every family problem within each half hour episode. It wasn’t until much later when I discovered that the only “perfect” family was on TV.
Today, social media is much like my favorite childhood TV show. Have you ever noticed that everyone always appears happy on social media? And should you encounter a problem, someone on social media can offer a quote or solution to anything you might experience. But if we desire to experience reality in life rather than life as a reality show, we must come to terms with the truth that the perfect family doesn’t exist—not even the family on “Father Knows Best.” As attractive as it appeared to sit around a kitchen table with your father wearing a coat and tie, providing the perfect advice to every problem, the truth still remains: life’s problems usually cannot be solved by one man in a half hour.
If I were to select one positive quality about aging, it might be how quickly we learn that life’s difficulties may or may not be solved in this life. And certainly, no one is exempt from pain. When I decided to follow Christ and began growing as a believer, I learned the importance of keeping my eyes on Jesus—who is perfect—and not His followers who will never be able to reach perfection. The more I learned about Jesus, the more I understood that everything Jesus did was to either bring glory to His Father or to surrender to the will of His Father.
One of my favorite examples of this is found in Mark 14:36. Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. As He prayed, He called His Father by the name “Abba.” Abba is an Aramaic word that infers affection similar to the term “Daddy” in modern English. Jesus did not see His Abba as a father dressed in a coat and tie waiting for someone to ask Him for fatherly advice. When Jesus cried out to His Father as Abba, Jesus faced betrayal, rejection, physical pain, and the weight of the sin that destroyed man’s communion with their God. In other words, Jesus was headed to the cross and was crying out to His daddy! The night surely felt dark and hopeless as Jesus realized the cross was before Him and death was certain. Even though Jesus cried out to the point where His tears fell on the very ground He created, He understood that His Father knew best; Jesus was willing to surrender His will to whatever His Father allowed. I certainly remember times when I prayed for God to change situations that caused pain to either my children or myself. I also remember becoming angry when He did not change those situations per my requests. Where would we be today if Jesus had refused to suffer? Would we have any hope of surviving life in a fallen world with fallen people had Jesus not gone to the cross?
As a child, I longed for the perfect family sitting around a table dressed in fancy clothing. But as His child, I have the perfect Father—dressed in all His glory and splendor—sitting on His throne. And because of the pain Jesus willing experienced, I’m able to sit at His feet, dressed in His righteousness, and call Him Abba, Father. Our Heavenly Father knew that without the cross, we would experience betrayal, rejection, physical pain, and our own sin. When the Father did not answer Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, He wasn’t trying to teach Jesus a lesson on surrender, nor was it because Jesus didn’t have enough faith. The reason God chose not to answer Jesus’ prayer that night in the Garden is because He looked past one night of anguish to the day He would wipe away all tears. When I think about Jesus praying with such intimacy to His daddy to prevent the crucifixion, I am thankful God did not answer His prayer. I cannot imagine where we would be today had God heard the cries of His Son and chosen to do whatever it took to stop His suffering. God knew that at the conclusion of that dreadful day Jesus would consider the cross His joy! As difficult and trying as life may seem now, we will be able to see the joy in our trials when we stand before our Father in Heaven. Without a doubt, we will bow before our God praising Him because “Father knows best!”