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The battle of wills.

It’s easy to pray “Thy will be done” but what does it mean?

November 18, 2010 No Comment

by Ian Adnams

One of the most difficult lessons we learn in the Christian life is total reliance on God. Every Sunday we pray the Lord’s Prayer and likely motor past the phrase “Thy will be done” without a second thought. Yet those words are jam-packed with consequences.

To say to God that whatever is His will is OK with us is to give up any personal control we thought we had.

During daily devotions and Bible study at the office I sit opposite the window. A couple of months ago, someone decided to draw back the vertical blinds allowing more sun into the room. Now I enjoy a good view of what’s going on outside. Recently, the city put up a sign at the entrance to an alleyway warning drivers that once they turn there, they can’t get out. It’s a small yellow square that interrupts my daily view with the words “NO EXIT.” And due to a complex maze of situations over which I have no control, that’s the way I’ve felt lately—there is no exit.

At least that’s my horizontal view.

Every scenario I run through in my mind that could possibly bring a solution to the problem is met with a dead end. No exit.

There is only one way out—looking up; ignoring the no exit sign in front of me and realizing the only solution rests in God’s hands. And we arrive back at “Thy will be done.”

Jesus knows all about this. When we read of His anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane the night of His betrayal, He’s praying to His father asking for some way to avoid the inevitable. Then says, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” It’s a complete surrender to God’s will.

Unfortunately, we usually arrive at that point only after we’ve exhausted what our will wants. But we don’t always stop there. Sometimes we pray as if we are dropping slips of paper in a divine suggestion box, in case God hasn’t thought of that solution yet.

In my case, I came to the realization that I shouldn’t suggest anything to our One God, Maker of heaven and earth! To do so is the height of pride and arrogance. “Oh and Lord, just in case you hadn’t thought of this…” I am humbled. Utterly helpless. Any solutions I come up with meet the NO EXIT sign.

That’s the point where we come before our loving, gracious God and simply say, “Your will be done.”

The longer you live, the more you experience God’s will often takes us by surprise. The Creator of the universe invented “out of the box” thinking. That’s what makes Him God.

The Bible is sprinkled liberally with His promises that assure us that He is on our side, even when we can’t see it. In the Psalms we see writers listing their problems, challenges, and defeats, only to reach the conclusion that the Lord God is with them.

Paul takes it a step further assuring us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that “… we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

He knows what “good” we need. Sometimes it isn’t apparent. Good is somehow shrouded in immediate circumstances. But the writer of Proverbs reminds us to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

We may never understand God’s ways this side of heaven. But He calls us to surrender our will to His will because He loves us and promises His constant care.

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