This season I’ve been especially focused on one image in Scripture.
Take this cup.
“and [Jesus] said to her, ‘What is it that you want?’ She said to him, ‘Promise that these two sons of mine may sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your kingdom.’ Jesus answered, ‘You do not know what you are asking. Can you drink the cup that I am going to drink?'” Matt 20:20-22
She was asking for position and greatness for her sons in an Earthly kingdom. How often I find myself asking for the same. I want it here and now, especially in light of the Nathan’s affliction. If I were offered the choice to give Nathan back the strand of DNA that he lost in the womb, I just know I would do it in an instant. Healing on Earth. That would mean no pain, no intellectual or physical set-backs to walking and running and jumping. He’d have the ability to fully communicate. He could spend his free time at swim lessons and soccer, instead of therapy and doctor visits. He could have a typical little boy life. This is the place I want for him in society as a typical kid, and me as a typical mom.
I’m not sure I can drink the cup.
Jesus goes on to tell them, “Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.” vs 27-28
Sacrifice and service are counter intuitive to our idea of greatness. “Drinking the cup” requires us to lower ourselves in humility, in order to be lifted up. This is the unique and beautiful gift of Nathan’s life to me. Nathan, by very nature of his vulnerable and dependent state, will ask me to sacrifice and serve him all his days. God gently and graciously helps me to drink the cup, for what mother can deny her own son?
He even helps me with the guilt I feel for not wanting the cup.
Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Yet not my will but yours be done.” – Luke 22:42
“Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me. Yet not what I will but what you will…He went away again and prayed the same thing.” – Mark 14:36-37
He offered His life. But He didn’t want to.
On days that I don’t want to sacrifice in caring for Nathan, when I don’t want to “drink the cup,” I’m reminded that Christ didn’t want to either. That gives me great comfort. A sweet balm for my guilt.
His was a deeply painful sacrifice in ways I will never fully comprehend. My sacrifice as a parent of a special needs kid is not near as great. But it is hard and painful and there are many days when the groans of my heart echo the words of Christ and say “Take this cup from me.”
This Easter I celebrate His great sacrifice. He took the cup that was not taken from Him, He drank of it.
Three days later He rose defeating the power of sin and death.
Happy Resurrection Sunday.
On an unrelated note. Nathan came home from the hospital tonight without having any heart episodes while being monitored. He giggled when I put him to bed. I know he’s happy to be home. We gave it our best shot and are glad to all be together to celebrate Easter.
My book, Beauty in Broken Dreams: A Hopeful Handbook for the Early Years as a Special Needs Parent, is now available on Amazon!
Also be sure to check out my list of Favorite Books on Disability!