“Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10)
Here is my riddle: What is it that we ask God for, yet many times do not like it when we receive it? Any guesses? It is the will of God. Being disappointed with God’s will happens when his will does not match ours. When David was anointed to be the next king of Israel, one would expect that he would have been given a crown, a throne, and a royal scepter to hold. What he got was time in a cave hiding for his life from Saul. Was that God’s will? Yes, it was! I think of the apostle Paul, probably the greatest preacher of all time. Paul should have been given the senior pastorate at a mega church in Antioch, or Berea, or Philippi. What he got was a dark damp prison cell in Rome. Was that God’s will? Yes, it was! Sandwiched in between these two great biblical figures was John the Baptist. The forerunner of Jesus Christ, proclaiming the great news that the Son of God had come to earth. He should have been given interviews on every important social media of the day, along with a lucrative book deal. What he got was time sitting in the middle of the wilderness, picking locust wings out of his teeth. Was that God’s will? Yes, it was!
We ask for God’s will to be done, but when his will does not line up with our own, we become sorely disappointed. Many even become angry at God. Now I can tell you all sorts of things about being disappointed with God’s will, but I am sure you have heard them before. You know: That God knows best, or God knows things we do not, or God has something better for us than what we want. All true, but they do not relieve much of the disappointment we feel. And if they do make us feel a little better, it is fleeting.
Jesus teaches us how to handle the disappointment of not getting our prayers answered the way we want them to be answered. He shows us how to submit to the will of God. He illustrated it best in the Garden of Gethsemane. Imagine being all-God, knowing every second of pain and suffering you were about to endure. Every agonizing moment of torment you were about to receive. With full knowledge of his suffering, Jesus knelt in the garden and asked the Father if it was his will, to please take the affliction away from him. However, he completed his prayer with these words: “Yet, not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)
Here is Jesus’ secret. It is the thing each of us needs to learn from his agony in that garden. Jesus got his will out of the way BEFORE he asked for the Father’s will. “Yet, not what I will” is the key to accepting God’s will. Jesus teaches us to surrender our will in order to be content with the Father’s will. The battle of wills when we pray lies within us, because we make our will stronger than the will of God. When we do submit our will to the mighty will of God, we discover we can accept whatever the Father desires for us. The key is surrendering our will first.