Friday, January 28, 2011

Thy Will Be Done

Even in the twenty-first century, a few Scripture passages are still famous in their King James translations. One of these is the Lord's Prayer: "...Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done." And another is Jesus's Gethsemane prayer: "Not My will but Thine be done." There is a shining example of practicing what one preaches. Anyone can say to God, "Do whatever You think is best" when we have little obvious to lose either way; anyone can counsel someone else to accept a difficult situation as "God's will"; but the real test of spiritual strength comes when, facing situations we would do anything to get out of, we sense God saying, "Go through with it." Are we able then to sincerely say, "However much I dread this, Lord, Your will takes precedence over mine"?

For too many of us, the answer is "no" in situations far less serious than imminent crucifixion. Even serious Christians can fall under the influence of a society that preaches "you get what you want by thinking positive" and detests slow progress and delayed gratification. We often pray in the manner of whining children and selfish sweethearts: "If You really loved me You'd give me what I wanted when I wanted it!" Alas, our God is a God of tough love, and not someone who can be bullied or manipulated. He gives us things for our own good, whether we like it or not.

The more mature among us eventually learn, if not exactly to like our struggles, to face them with the attitude of Jesus: "For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame" (Heb. 12:2). Once we develop a strong confidence in what God has waiting for us, we can finally say "Your will, not mine, be done" and mean it--not because God's will is always easy to live with, but because we appreciate that "our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Cor. 4:17).

A vision like that makes even crucifixion worth enduring.

Lord, my soul is stubborn,
Always longing for
Things to make me "happy,"
Health, and wealth, and more.
Lord, Your Word has told me
Joy will come through trial:
Free my heart from grumbling
At each "second mile."

Lord, my heart is selfish:
All it wants is ease
And a life of constant
"Doing as I please."
Lord, Your Word has told me,
"Be a slave to all."
Make my spirit humble,
Lest I slip and fall.

Lord, my mind is prideful,
Longing for a day
Praise and fame and glory
All will line my way.
Lord, Your Word has told me,
"Be the humble one."
Take my will and mold it;
May Your will be done.

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