And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:36 (NKJV)
My TEA spilled again. Not just a drip on my blouse, or a splash on my jeans, or a puddle on the counter, but gallons of tea all over as the bottom dropped out of my life. Our granddaughter, the joy of our hearts, Kennedy Grace, was diagnosed with cancer, T-cell Lymphoma.
Leave it to the enemy to pick on the smallest member of the family. Kennedy is just short of 4 years old. Our daughter Kallie took her to the doctor with a cough and they found a huge mass covering her chest cavity, pushing on her heart and lungs. Doctors began chemo the next day. In a single moment, Kennedy’s world, her mom and dad’s world, our world and the lives of all who love this little girl were changed forever.
My husband and I spent the first day fasting and praying for dear Kennedy. The following day. I “just happened” to open My TEA CUPP Prayers book, which I’ve been re-reading since the beginning of the year, to the PETITIONS section. There I read Psalm 142:1, “I cry out to the Lord with my voice…” and I saw the prayer for my little friend Emma who had cancer. Every place it said “Emma,” I wrote in “Kennedy.” I turned the page and read “Take this cup” and cried out to Jesus to take away this cup from Kennedy, Kallie, Reed and all of us. I claimed Jesus’ promise from Matthew 19:26, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I turned the page again and read Psalm 142:2 “I pour out my complaint before Him…” and pleaded for the life of our precious Kennedy. I added Kennedy to the healing body picture. I cried out with my favorite Psalm of tears, Psalm 61:2, “From the end of the earth I will cry to You…” As I kept turning pages, I underlined, “Why would I plead with Him for the life of a young boy with cancer? Why would I wrestle for my children?” And I wrestled with God in prayer as Jacob did with the Angel. And I claimed all the healing promises. Over and over again, I pleaded and plead with Jesus for Kennedy.
We went to church and I wrestled with the current sermon series from James where we were told to “count it all joy when you fall into various trials“ (James 1:2). I don’t want to count it all joy, Jesus! We sang hymns. Tears ran down my face I as we sang, “In the good times and bad, You are on the throne, You are God alone.”
And I think about how this little girl has touched my life since her birth and baptism and amens and the joy she brings to so many. I remember how in every prayer my husband prayed this past fall for Kennedy, he asked for God to protect her. Is this His way of protecting her from something worse?
And I worry that my family is a target because of my ministry and plead with God to guard them all with His angels. And He tells me, this was not because of your ministry, your ministry is because of this. Children everywhere need our prayers. And God knew that someday I would face the worse heartache of my life, and I would need to be prepared to battle for my dear granddaughter on my knees in prayer. And so I keep praying.
Last summer I spoke for a lovely TEA at a Baptist Church in Billings, Montana. The title of my talk was, “When the TEA spills.” I told the ladies that we all have this cup called life, and sometimes we get bumped or jostled and the tea spills a bit. Towards the end of my talk, I exhorted the ladies…
“When you leave here today, more tea will spill. That’s just the way this world is ever since Adam and Eve gave in to satan and ate the apple, causing the first blood to be shed for sins when God made them animal skin clothing. We live in a fallen world where tea spills almost every day. Jesus tells us in John 16:33…In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” How will you deal with your tribulations?”
Our precious Savior Jesus prayed before He went to the cross…
“Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Luke 22:42 (NKJV)
We too can pray this petition when the tea is spilling from our cups faster than we can refill it…when you are having a day like Job where you lose everything at once, when your daughter emails she’s having another miscarriage, when your son has a mysterious disease, when your GRANDDAUGHTER gets cancer, when your health is failing, when you lose your job, when your marriage is struggling, when sorrows like sea billows roll…you can pray this petition, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me;, nevertheless not My will, but Yours be done.”
And Jesus will take your cup and carry your burden for you and replace your cup with sweet tea once again, for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
We have so many things to praise Jesus for…we had the joy of visiting our granddaughter at the hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and staying at the Ronald McDonald House next door. There we met so many other children and families in need of prayer. So many caring doctors and nurses took care of our granddaughter. Kennedy went from being hooked up to all kinds of tubes to going home nine days after she was admitted! Jesus shrunk the mass in her chest so she can breathe again. She’s had three chemo treatments so far and will have more over the next two years. Kennedy is surrounded by loving family and friends. But she has bad tummy aches and wants to feel better. Please keep praying for our precious Kennedy.
Today’s TEA CUPP: Don’t wait for the TEA to spill to begin your daily TEA time with Jesus. Now is the time to have a regular quiet time with the Lord, where you read your Bible and talk to Him in prayer. Pray for all the children who need Jesus’ healing. And when the day comes when the bottom falls out of your own cup, you will know just where to go for help…to Jesus.
Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:1-2 (NKJV)
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5 (NKJV)
…Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me? John 18:11 (NKJV)
Scripture taken the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.