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Dad at the Dentist

My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will. Matthew 26:39

I didn’t expect a profound lesson about the Father’s heart at the dentist’s office—but I got one. I was there with my ten-year-old son. He had an adult tooth coming in under a baby tooth that hadn’t fallen out yet. It had to come out. There was no other way.

My son, in tears, pleaded with me: “Dad, isn’t there another way? Can’t we just wait and see? Please, Dad, I don’t want to have this tooth pulled!” It just about broke my heart, but I told him, “Son, it’s got to come out. I’m sorry. There’s no other way.” And I held his hand as he wriggled and writhed while the dentist removed that stubborn molar, tears in my eyes too. I couldn’t take his pain away; the best I could offer was to be present with him in it.

In that moment, I remembered Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, asking His Father for a different way. How it must have broken the Father’s heart to see His beloved Son in such agony! Yet there was no other way to save His people.

In our lives, we sometimes face unavoidable yet painful moments—just like my son did. But because of Jesus’s work for us through His Spirit, even in our darkest moments our loving heavenly Father is always present with us (Matthew 28:20).

Father, thank You for loving us so much that You sent Your beloved Son to save us, even though it must have broken Your heart to do so. In our times of joy or pain, thank You for Your Spirit holding and carrying us.

For more on the topic of suffering, see christianuniversity.org/CA211.

Our loving heavenly Father promises He is always present with us, even in our darkest moments.


In Matthew 26:36–39, we catch a crystal-clear glimpse of the Savior’s humanity. The Last Supper is over. Jesus has foretold Judas’s betrayal (v. 25) and predicted the disciples’ abandonment of Him (vv. 31–35). Now they’re in the garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus often brought His disciples (Luke 21:37; 22:39). As He prepares to talk to His Father, Jesus tells the disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me” (Matthew 26:38). Think of it! In this, His darkest hour, the Creator of the cosmos requests the company of His friends.

Jesus goes a short distance away to pray, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me” (v. 39). Yet even Jesus doesn’t get all His prayers answered with a yes. Soon He will cry out from the cross, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” (27:46). The cup of suffering will not be taken from Him. He will drink it in our place. And He will do it alone.

God has promised us, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). When I face my darkest moments, do I believe this?

Tim Gustafson

By |2018-10-30T14:13:53-04:00November 6th, 2018|
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