cup: learning to drink the cup before us with a willing spirit

Can you drink the cup before you? I’m guessing the short answer to that question is to say it depends on what’s in it. Some “drinks” are more welcome than others. What if it held a cup of challenge, change or suffering? What then?

We all have a time, place and circumstance we would rather not face. Everything within recoils at the thought of all we need to go through. Surely anything is better than this?

Just think how alone we can feel when dealing with difficult decisions and painful problems. These things tend to keep us up at night, sleep-elusive, our minds churning restlessly.

Heavy emotional and physical burdens drag us down to the depths. Few can fully comprehend how daunting they seem. There is something so isolating in wrestling with a worry beyond the ordinary.

If we multiply our concerns exponentially, then we might have an inkling of the enormity of the task awaiting the Son of God on the night before facing the cross, and gain some understanding of why the anguished forethought caused Him to sweat drops of blood.

Can Jesus drink this cup before Him? Is there no other way by which mankind can be saved, except by complete and willing surrender to His Father’s will, leading to an excruciatingly painful death and a heavier burden still of bearing all the world’s sin on Himself?

Because Jesus willingly took the cup of sin and suffering on our behalf, we can learn to cope with whatever life may throw at us. Maybe yours is a cup of shame, hostility, cruelty or indifference. He’s been there too.

“When God allows others to think less of you, to judge you, to challenge you, to malign you, he is bringing you into rare but intimate country—the sufferings of Christ” ~ Gary L Thomas, ‘Simply Sacred: Daily Readings’

With Jesus' help, we can learn to cope with whatever life may throw at us Click To Tweet

I wrote the poem below a while ago, during a season of great strain and stress. My hope and prayer is that you might see Jesus as our Cup Bearer and life sharer in every situation we face.

Drink the cup


I hold a cup in shaky hands,

brimful of tears and sorrow

I lift it up to drink and sup

then set aside to have tomorrow


I cannot willingly receive

this pain-filled cup I bear

unless I learn to bend the knee

and offer it up in prayer


I want so much to hold again

a cup full of joy and gladness,

not these contents of acid rain

caught in days of grief and sadness


I sense a Hand hover over mine

I see it bears deep wounds and scars

Etched within the echelons of time

my risen Saviour remains cross-marred


He wraps his fingers tenderly

around my own, holding cup and heart

We lift as one, my Lord and me

and swallow whole in every part


Our human capacity to swallow a cup of sorrow, sickness, grief or pain is pretty limited. We tend to fight it to the last drop. Though as people of the cross, we have resources beyond ourselves.

We can learn to survive and thrive with God on our side. Click To Tweet

With Jesus accompanying us, offering His unlimited supernatural power and strength, we discover we can taste a bitter cup, slowly drink its contents to the dregs, learn to thrive and survive with God on our side.

14 thoughts on “cup: learning to drink the cup before us with a willing spirit”

  1. Dear Joy,
    Henri Nouwen has been one of my favorite authors, even before this season of slowness began a few years ago. And I can see the hand of Jesus in that also, preparing me for the cup that follows this season. These words brought tears to my eyes:

    “He wraps his fingers tenderly
    around my own, holding cup and heart
    We lift as one, my Lord and me
    and swallow whole in every part”

    To think of a love such as Jesus offers, to be with me in the darkest days, overwhelms my heart. Thank you for sharing such precious words, the honey that has come out of the rock of your own dark days. May the Lord continue to bring refreshing to you and your husband, and bless you with a Joyous Resurrection Day! xoxo

    1. Dear Bettie, I’m delighted to hear Henri Nouwen is one of your favourite authors, because I love him, too! It also warms my heart to know you sense the hand of Jesus in preparing you for the cup you have before you. And I can see how you have also needed holy courage, companionship and strength to help you to face life’s challenges. I think Christ inhabits “the darkest days” with shared tears, an abiding, comforting presence, empathy and understanding, as well as gifting us with His hope and peace. It’s in the worst of times that we have the best of Christ. Tears sprang to my eyes on reading this: “precious words, the honey that has come out of the rock of your own dark days”, because any sweetness must be due to the fragrant presence of Jesus, our solid Rock in times of trouble. May God bless you and your husband with a “Joyous Resurrection Sunday” as you celebrate Christ’s victory over death and sin! xoxo

  2. This poem really touches my heart, Joy. I can just see our shaking hands, not able to lift the pain-filled cup of suffering. Then Jesus so gently putting His deeply-wounded hands over ours and lifting the cup with us. I will carry this comforting image with me. He knows and understands so deeply, doesn’t He? “Because Jesus willingly took the cup of sin and suffering on our behalf, we can learn to cope with whatever life may throw at us.” Amen! I pray you have a resurrection-joy Easter! Love and hugs!

    1. Oh, Trudy, how often I have wanted such a cup to be taken from me! But God has chosen to reveal His comfort and strength to me in the midst of suffering, and other forms of inner healing are taking place instead. So often we fail to see how our attitudes and desires can need His refining touch, and just how much each firebrand sear of adversity is also serving to help bring out the very best in you and me, revealing the gold hidden beneath the dross, honing us into vessels fit for the King of kings. Amen to these words: “He knows and understands so deeply, doesn’t He?” We wouldn’t really know that if we didn’t have difficult, hard and painful things to go through. Our pain brings out the worst in us sometimes, but we still experience the best of God in our struggles. Thank you for your lovely Easter greeting. May you have a weekend filled with hope, encouragement and a cheerful expectation of good things. May your joy be renewed and body strengthened as you enjoy sweet fellowship with our Lord. Love and hugs to you, dear friend! xo

  3. Thank you for this beautiful gift from your heart and hand. He guides not only your cup, but very obviously, also your pen. <3

    1. Dear Cheryl Anne, thank you so much for being here, for reading, and for being such a sweet and kind encourager! I see God’s inspiration all over the words you write on your blog. It’s a wonderful thing to have a surrendered heart and pen for the Master Poet to write His words with. Rich blessings on your Easter weekend! xo <3

        1. Cheryl Anne, we actually live in eternal Easter, don’t we? Or, at least, with its resurrection taste lingering on the tongue as we go through our world-weary days. Though it’s hard to maintain a sense of hope, awe and joy when life events can leave us dry, depleted and jaundiced. I’m so grateful for the exhale which Easter gives us, a Holy pause to ponder and be thankful. May your weekend hold gifts of grace, gratitude and praise, as well as renewed Hope and Joy, bringing spring’s rain of refreshment within. xo <3

            1. Thank you, Cheryl Anne, how sweet of you to say so! I haven’t always lived up to my name over long years of heartache and pain, but I do fully rely on the joy of the Lord these days, rather than my fickle feelings, to sustain me. 🙂 xo

    1. June, how lovely to think these words have really blessed your heart! Thank you for letting me know they have spoken to you. I’m humbly grateful for that privilege. Bless you, dear friend. xo

  4. Dear Joy, so beautifully expressed as always. I too love Henri Nouwen and that quote brings out another healing colour in the rainbow of hope along with your tender poem and the wise words of your blog. It’s an earthly reality in this life that there’s often “many a slip twixt cup and lip” as we struggle to hold our cup of challenges steady, but as your words show, as “people of the cross,” what a blessing we share that at such times we can “sense a Hand hover over mine” as we have One who gently knows us best and shares His grace to help us cope with all that’s in our cup. Bless you and thank you, dear friend xxx

    1. Dear Joyce, what a JOY to see you here, my friend! Though I know you quietly read along, absorbing and pondering what is shared, it lifts my heart to think something has so spoken to you that you are moved to leave such a wise, encouraging and perceptive comment. Thank you for your generous thoughts and insightful way of adding to the conversation. These words of yours have found a home in my heart: “healing colour in the rainbow of hope”, and all it implies about our hope being real, healing, visible and beautiful to behold, by God and others. I also love your reminder of “many a slip twixt cup and lip”, especially in the attempt to “hold our cup of challenge steady.” Thank you for sparing precious energy and time to write to me. I’ve been thinking of you lately and meaning to ask how you are. Please feel free to send me an email or Facebook message when you feel up to it. Abundant blessings of health, strength, rest and peace to you in the days ahead. May a holy joy and contentment lift your spirits. Happy Easter, dear friend! xoxo

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