(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)
Thy will be done
6th April 2008
The Lord's Prayer starts:
It's easy to give mental assent to the idea of praying for God's will to be done. He is the Creator of all things, and so has a right to do what He wants. He is all-knowing, and so knows what's best. And He loves us. So it would seem to be an obvious good thing to pray for. And it is. But praying "Thy will be done" is not always as easy as we might think.
How did Abraham feel about God's will being done when this happened?
It's much easier to pray "Thy will be done, except when it affects my family, so long as it conforms to my idea of right and wrong, so long as it fits into my theology". Abraham obeyed God. Abraham was willing for God's will to be done. But it wasn't easy.
And Jesus Himself, who taught us this prayer, found Himself in the garden of Gethsemane, praying:
He knew that His Father - our Father - wanted Him to be tortured and killed. But He prayed "not as I will, but as you will". For Jesus, "They will be done" meant submission to pain and death. But He prayed it - and He meant it. And He suffered for it.
If we are Christians, we know (I hope) that we were chosen by God. More than that, we were predestined to be Christians:
It's great to know that God predestined us to be His. It's great to know that God works in all things for our good. So why is our life sometimes so very painful? I can't answer that completely, but here's part of the answer:
God predestined us - but He didn't predestine us to a pain-free life, He predestined us to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.
Our Father's will for us is for us to become like Jesus. And He's got a lot of work to do to achieve that. And we have a lot of changes to make: many changes of attitude, action, speech, thought and priorities to undergo, much sin to repent of, and much to learn. And often, we learn best through the difficult experiences of life.
Is God's will good for us? Of course! Is it comfortable? Sometimes, and sometimes not. But if we're serious about our relationship with Him, we must embrace His will:
Do you want Jesus to reveal more of Himself to you? Then do what He says.
Why doesn't Jesus reveal Himself to everybody? Because not everybody wants to obey Him.
Do you want intimate relationship with both the Father and the Son? For them to "Come to you and make their home with you"? Then obey God.
The degree to which you submit your life to Him will be the degree to which you know His blessing.
"Thy will be done" is first and foremost an expression of submission to God. It's an acknowledgement that His will is best, and that we need His help in order to obey it. But when we obey it, we find Him closer to us than ever.