This is a translation of a scriptural meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”, followed by a Lewis connection:
Scripture: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done” (Luke:24,42)
"Who can measure the depth of suffering which brought forth this cry of the Divine Savior?
"Having come to earth to make the great sacrifice of atonement for the salvation of mankind, His soul became troubled as the sacrifice approached, and He, the God-Man, bearing the suffering of all mankind, called to His Heavenly Father asking to be freed from this, but added the words which should be the basis of our every thought and feeling: “Not my will but yours be done!”
"When our entire being is full of one desire, when it seems to us that we are ready for any sacrifice except the one which perhaps at that moment God needs, when we call on Him with all our might for deliverance, nevertheless always and stronger than anything else must be the feeling that His will and not ours be done. The Lord does not forbid us to pray, on the contrary, He Himself gave us the example of praying to God and by His divine example showed us how we can and should pray. We should never feel bitter or upset when our prayer seems to be unanswered. Let us remember that even the prayer of Christ Himself, this holy prayer, pouring out of the suffering heart of the God-Man, did not receive the reply that His human heart yearned for: the cup was not removed from Him! So how can we, mortal and sinful beings, be surprised that our prayers often seem not to be answered. Let us pray without ceasing, but also constantly repeat with complete faith, hope and submission: ‘Lord, Your will be done’!
In describing Christ’s asking the Father to remove the cup in Gethsemane, in “Letters to Malcolm” (Letter XI), Lewis writes that “when He does so the certitude about His Father’s will is apparently withdrawn”.
But it seems to me that there is a simpler explanation for Christ’s asking the Father to remove the cup, even though He knows it won’t be removed. Christ was, after all, human. And as humans, feeling great anguish, don’t we often fervently desire that something be averted, even though we know it won’t be? I think that this is the same desire expressed in the words of the Lord’s prayer – “Lead us not into temptation (or ‘hard testing’)”, although we know that “hard testing” there must be (and “Thy will be done”).
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)