“‘You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said to them. “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We can,” they answered.” (Matthew 20:22)
Even Jesus didn’t want to drink from the cup. He knew what the future held for Him. He had to pay for our sins. But He did drink. He was able to face the horror of a gruesome death and carry out God’s will. Are we able to face the hardships of our lives so willingly? Can we drink from the cup God gives us?
We often feel sorry for ourselves that we are alcoholics or addicts. Why do we have to have a brain that seems so bent on ruining our lives? Why do we have to work every day for our sobriety? Our alcoholism or addiction is our cup. How do we manage to lift the cup and drink? We do it the same way Jesus did. Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was so upset that He said to His disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (Matthew 26:38) Jesus was so anguished that it was said He sweated blood. (Luke 22:44) What enabled Him to face His fate? Jesus surrendered to God. “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me, yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) Jesus knew and felt God’s love. How else could He drink the cup without that love? It is the same for us. We can drink our cup too if we feel connected to our Creator. We connect through prayer and surrendering.
During Christ’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was given a moment of consolation. It is mentioned only in the Book of Luke. “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” (Luke 22:43) We too are given moments of consolation in the cup of our desolation and despair. In the cup of sorrow we must drink, lies too, our joy, just as there was joy in the midst of Christ’s suffering on the cross. We are consoled knowing that God loves us. God has a plan for our lives. God is in charge. In the depth of our alcoholism or addiction is something precious, for this is our lot, our lives. And every life is precious to God. Every one of us is called, “Beloved.”
We can face the fact that we are different from our fellows and be joyful. Jesus lifted His cup and drank deeply. We can too.