Over the course of the last couple months I have been learning in a hands on way what the phrase “thy will be done” means in the Lord’s prayer. I am sure I do not have it all figured out, but I do feel like God is teaching me a portion of what it means. With some understanding it has also produced more questions. Questions such as if I submit to God’s will, whatever it happens to be, then how do I pray? If I am at peace with His will, then is it ok if I merely rest in his decisions and let life unfold as it needs to. Pondering how do I submit my will to Father and still pray what is on my heart, it seems a contradiction.
The answer I have found answers all three questions at one time. I am human and because I am human I am going to respond to what happens in life in various ways depending on whether I am exhausted or rested, how much pressure has been applied with different circumstances, and how out of control life seems at the moment. How I respond to life can also be as simple as how my hormones are doing that day or it can also be altered by how someone else has wronged me and the degree to which it hurts. So, what good is prayer if it all boils down to “thy will be done”. It does a lot of good! Prayer is the place to vent, it is the place to unload the overabundance of joy of the moment, it is the place to unload the most anguish of pain. Both have it’s place at God’s throne. God wants to hear our hearts regardless of the degree of disgusting ugly emotions. God is not afraid of our emotions and I can imagine that when we come to his throne pissed off and angry it actually makes his heart joyful. Because, he knows that we have gone to the right place to be healed. We could have turned to drugs or alcohol, we could have turned to eating too many pieces of chocolate cake, we could have buried it so far into our selves it would take heavy equipment to pull it out. When we take our emotional voltage to God he is then able to minister to us, he is able to listen first, then soothe, and then heal. He, being God also knows that we grieve and have a process in which we deal with what happens to us. He also knows our hearts and he cares so very much for them.
Going to God looks like getting angry at him, it looks like sobbing my eyes out at the unfairness that seems to be happening, it looks like coming to acceptance as I unload the anger and hurt, and it looks like in the end being able to say, “thy will be done”. Sometimes it takes me a long time to get to the point were I can verbally say the words, were I can lay down my wants and desires in exchange for the Father’s. It’s often a very painful process both emotionally and to my pride to die to myself once again.
The funny thing is I have learned from the past that God’s will is always better than mine. The blessings that pour forth from submitting far out way carrying bitterness and anger around because I didn’t get my way or what I thought was my way. I know God’s way is better, but each time it is still painful as I lay down whatever my heart desired at the time.
I often find myself asking, well how do I pray then if I am just going to say, thy will be done? Scripture says we are to ask without doubting, it says we are to seek and we shall find, scripture teaches over and over that we are to go to the Father who lavishes on his children. When I pray and share my hearts desire with the Father he listens and he cares. Another reason I believe prayer is important is because God is never going to force himself on his children. He will never make me do anything, does he have the power to, yes, will he, no. When we go to God in prayer and we ask it gives God the go ahead to begin working in our lives and our hearts. It is us saying yes to him, it is us choosing him, choosing his best for me. God waits for us to be ready, for our hearts to be ready for what he has in store for us. I know from parenting my own kids that it does very little good to try and talk with them when their hearts have harden. I know that nothing will sink in or be taken in until their heart has softened and they are ready to receive what I have to teach them. It’s the same way with God and us his children.
How has it come that I have learned this, the hard way of course. It seems that at various times this last year God has taken everything that Mark and I find great comfort in. He has taken our securities here on earth and has given us only eternity as security. When I have nothing that feels secure and life looks and feels out of control I usually freak out, sob my eyes out, and then come to a place where I am ready to lay down all securities for the joy of the Lord. It’s a weird thing to have to give up everything to feel joy and peace, it seems like it would feel reckless and awful (sometimes, most times in the moment it does feel awful and can feel close to death), but instead to find the very thing you have been wanting when all is taken a way is quite unexpected. So, joy and peace are not found in things, they are not found in people, they are not found in anything this life can offer. It is found in laying down every area of my life, all things earthly, laying down the need for temporary happiness, and trading them for “thy will be done”. Don’t get me wrong I love feeling happy just like everyone else does, but happiness is like a drug used as it’s not intended. A drug that at first feels wonderful as it makes and numbs the pain, but after a while we learn we can use the drug to mask other pains, other symptoms. The need to feel happy can drive people to gambling debt, relationship wounds, and so many other destructive habits as we need the next fix to feel happy. This is where joy and peace are important, because when the happiness of the moment wears off, the joy and peace remain, as long as I am abiding in prayer and in a relationship with God the Father and Jesus the Saviour. Abiding, remaining tapped into the vine, is my continued source for joy and peace. Being able to enjoy happiness when it comes and being soothed and comforted by continued joy and peace is truly amazing and something I am so thankful the Lord is teaching me! Bring on the joy and peace, while being thankful for prayer to unload life’s craziness, and knowing in the end that as I rest in “His will be done” I am in the most capable hands!