“I don’t want to do this.” A phrase uttered by a 15 year old boy/man.
Pretty typical fare for a teenager.
A statement of fact, borne of his will, declared many times across a decade and a half.
But this time it’s different.
Because this time it’s from my son, as he dry heaves after receiving chemo.
A span of fifteen days – a hurricane of emotions – biopsy of his left eye, stitches, PET scan, MRI scan, CT scan, two bone marrow taps, a spinal tap, central port, diagnosis: stage four LYMPHOMA and now chemo.
How much can the human body take?
Is my son’s ability to endure the pain up to the task?
Do I have the resolve to stay the course even as I watch others crumble?
Even when the situational news changes by the hour?
Lord, this is hard!
I can’t take his pain for him.
I am unable to step in and protect him.
A hug and a kiss will not solve or bring salve, like they did for hundreds of knee scrapes before.
Jesus, I don’t want this for my son, my wife, my other sons… My son’s words become mine, “I don’t want to do this.”
Father God, is this a glimpse of what you felt as you heard your Son, that betraying night in the garden?
Father God, how did you hold back your angels, as your son’s body was racked with pain?
It is no wonder that the earth quaked, rocks were split, a veil was torn, and your power was released to others who had already tasted death.
I don’t have that power.
I’m just a dad.
Yet a child, yet chosen.
A dusty disciple.
A follower of my rabbi, Jesus.
In life’s pain, you may not be there, because I barely am. But my Jesus, after saying, “I don’t want to do this.” Also said, “not my will but Yours be done.”
This is the mark of true disciples. We are real with God. We have a relationship that allows us to be angry, ask questions, express pain! We also seek answers, reflect on scripture, discern the horizon for wisdom, and we lean, heavily, on our brothers and sisters in the journey of faith.
We want what we want, but can we willingly say, “God, I want what You want more? I don’t want to do this….but I will.”