Friday, July 27, 2012

Not My Will, But Thine...

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” Luke 22:42

This verse is taken out of the passage in Luke where Jesus is in the garden of Gethsemane.  He is about to be betrayed by Judas and knows that the following events will lead to his crucifixion on the cross.  John MacArthur writes about this verse that this "...was a perfectly normal expression of his humanity that he shrank from the cup of divine wrath...But even though the cup was abhorrent to him, he willingly took it, because it was the will of the Father.  In this prayer, he was consciously, deliberately, and voluntarily subjugating all his human desires to the Father's perfect will."

And how often do we recite this verse in our head or in our prayers or let it roll off our lips during a difficult time?  I know I have been thinking and praying this over the last several weeks.

However, last night while mucking in the barn (where I get a lot of my praying and meditating done, believe it or not) I realized that perhaps I really don't want His will at all.  I want to want God's will in my life, but sometimes, I think my persistent prayers are actually asking God to do my will, not His.  

It's not wrong to pray and ask God to work or move in ways we believe are righteous, good, and in line with His will...but when the answer comes back "no" or "wait" is our (my) reaction "No, God!  I want this." 

Again, not to beat a dead horse, but the rain...So yesterday afternoon, a cold front came rolling down from the north.  The clouds began to build and the sky became dark. 


It was absolutely pouring to our northwest.  I just knew this was the answer to my prayers and we were about to get a deluge.  But this was all we got:


A small, light sprinkling.  While just over the tree line, gallons of rain were pouring out of the sky.  And I was trying to stay positive.  And I was trying to not allow those bitter feelings to rise up.  And I was trying to remember the things I had been praying about all day and what I have been learning.  And I was trying to be thankful because it was RAIN after all!  

And I was grateful.  And I was happy.  If only for the cooler temperatures that rolled in and the wonderful smell of cooling rain on hot grass and concrete.  

But there was still a part of me thinking, "This isn't enough."  

And I was ashamed by those thoughts.  How can I look God in the face and say whatever He gives me or whatever His plan for me is, that it is not enough?!  He has paid the ultimate price for me and my sin (and how can I so easily forget that when I've just been reciting the words He spoke before He paid that awful price?) and I get to live eternally in heaven with Him!  Not to mention the thousands of other glorious promises in His Word.

And mulling these things over in the barn is when I realize I'm still not there.  I am praying for God's will, asking and praying for things that I want to happen and hope are also a part of His will, but when I get down to the heart of it, when I honestly look at my motives and what I am really asking, I must ask myself if I am truly seeking His will?  

As John MacArthur noted above, Jesus willingly took the cup of God's divine wrath (which I deserved), because it was the will of the Father.  And so, do I in turn, willingly take this drought, this lack of answers as to when we will get Audrey, this limbo-land we're living in right now, the stresses and pressures that come with other issues in our I willingly take them or do I tolerate them?  Yesterday I was talking about endurance and I realized later there can be a big difference between "endurance" and "endure".  

Several months ago, our Pastor, Tom Pennington, preached a wonderful sermon on Psalm 46:1-2.  Here is that passage:

God is our crefuge and strength,
a very dpresent2 help in etrouble.
Therefore we will not fear fthough the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into gthe heart of the sea,

One of the things this Psalm is about is the sovereignty of God and God's plan and will for us.  He ended the sermon with these words: 

"The Psalmist is picturing the worst possible scenario, if the earth and the mountains are shaken, yet we are still secure!  Even if our world is completely shaken, because He is our refuge, our strength, our very present help, we will not fear because we know He is in control - our lives are in the control of all wise, sovereign God and our trials are the very best thing for us in our lives.

When we question the circumstances, how or why they came to be about in our lives, we are in reality questioning God's wisdom because we don't like His methods or think there is a better way.

Do you really believe the means, those specific methods and trials, are the best, most perfect plan for our lives?

The trouble God brings into our lives is not a lack of kindness or graciousness, it is perfect wisdom."

Therefore, Lord, not my will, but Thine...and give me the grace and faith to willinglyconsciously, deliberately, and voluntarily subjugate all my human desires to Your perfect will..

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