I’m having to discipline myself to get back to this self-imposed series on The Lord’s Prayer … in some ways I don’t want to (have been enjoying the summer, lazy days too much) but therein lies the rub …..
Your will. God’s will.
I don’t always want to do what God wants me to do … but I know that in the end, God’s will WILL be done – and life will be the more blessed, the more fruitful, if I am in God’s will.
One of my favourite Psalms is Psalm 1, particularly verses 2 and 3:
‘But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.’
I love the picture of being like a tree, reaching down deeply, drawing direction and strength from God’s law. How would it be if the tree decided to uproot itself and go and plant itself on, say, the beach – or on a glacier? Not sure how happy, or ‘blessed’ it would look then! The tree prospers by staying rooting in God’s will for it as a tree.
It is hard though. All through this summer I have been a bit like a bear with a sore head, a thundercloud permanently installed above my head! I don’t cope well with change, and there have been changes I’ve found it particularly hard to deal with. One of them has been my daughter’s changing schools and the logistics of that. And I’ve fretted about that – boy, have I fretted! And for what?
‘Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?’ (Matthew 6 v 27.)
It got to the point that my husband (long-suffering and patient as ever!) told me I had to focus on the good stuff, and spend less time worrying about the rest. I had also been reading ‘The Shack’ by Wm Paul Young (not sure what I think about it yet, although it is interesting …..) and one section in particular spoke to me. Don’t want to give the story away if you haven’t read it, but a character representing God is talking to the central character and says:
“We created you, the human, to be in face-to-face relationship with us, to join our circle of love. As difficult as it will be for you to understand, everything that has taken place is occurring exactly according to this purpose, without violating choice or will.”
“But your choices are also not stronger than my purposes, and I will use every choice you make for the ultimate good and the most loving outcome.”
Which brings me back to my topic. I judge the goodness of events by how they make me feel, by how comfortable I am with them. But that is me asserting MY will – and I have a much more myopic view of the world, even of my own life, than God has. God has purposes for me, for all of mankind, that are for our comfort, our happiness, our ultimate good.
So if something happens that doesn’t make me comfortable, does that of itself mean that it’s not God’s will? Surely not – for Jesus towards the end of his ministry spoke like this to his disciples: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16 v 33) and 2 Corinthians 4 talks extensively about the troubles that will face us in this life while promising that: ‘our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.’
And our ultimate example: Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, whilst sweat ‘like drops of blood’ were pouring from Him in His human anxiety and exhaustion, still could pray: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me: yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22 v 44 then 42.) He knew that this WAS in God’s will – that by willingly offering Himself in our place, He would win mankind back for relationship with God.
So this was my ‘light-bulb’ moment this week – if God is in control (which I believe He is) and will achieve His purpose in my life and in our universe (which I believe He will) then all I need to do is to continue to pray that HIS will be done in my life – even if it doesn’t look like this event or that circumstance isn’t in His will, even if (in all my wisdom) I would’ve done it differently! If I am praying, and stepping forward in His will, asking God to reveal that will to me and use everything (EVERYTHING) for that will, then I don’t need to fret about it – just trust that God will do precisely that.
And you know what, from that point on in the week, life got a whole lot better!
Not that this is a once-for-all … not at all! I have to KEEP handing control back to God, reminding He is God and not me! And I am trying … 🙂 So I join with Paul to pray this prayer from Colossians 1 verses 9-12, for myself and others:
‘For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.’
All Bible verses taken from the New International Version.
Picture credits: Pic 1 http://holimess.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/planted-by-river.html; Pic 2 –http://www.zianet.com/maxey/reflx448.htm; Pic 3 – http://ivarfjeld.com/2011/11/24/jesus-broke-the-powers-of-sin-on-the-cross/; Pic 4 – http://rebekahknight.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/potters-hardest-project.html