Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
King James Version
Today’s Study Text:
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”
“Furnace of Affliction” – Part 19
“Not My Will But Yours Be Done”
“When I vacillated about my decision to serve the Lord my God, it was I who willed, and I who willed not, and nobody else. I was fighting against myself. All You asked was that I cease to want what I willed, and begin to want what You willed.”
Augustine of Hippo
Am I willing in all circumstances of my life to say to my Father, “Thy will be done?”
“There is no peace but in the will of God. God’s will is our peace and there is no other peace. God’s service is perfect freedom and there is no other freedom.”
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Deep in the Garden of Gethsemane, the Son of God, in bitter agony cried out to His Father, “Please let this cup – this wretched cup – pass.” But then in words so victorious they ring clearly down through the ages to you and me this very day, “Not My will, but Yours be done!”
If we were to just take the phrase, “Your will, not mine,” and lightly skim over these words, it would be easy to miss the huge importance of what Jesus was saying, not only in the Garden of sorrow, but to you and me today.
To understand the all-encompassing meaning of these words, we need to go back to what the beloved disciple John wrote, quoting Jesus, Himself, in John 6: 38. These words were spoken by Jesus not long after the miraculous event where 5,000 people were fed. Believe me, this feeding triumph was enough to get the most cynical person’s attention. Jesus obviously had a power not seen by the people in Judea before. No Roman ruler had ever pulled off something so spectacular. And now that Jesus had everybody’s attention, His fan club expanded and followers came out of the woodwork to get on board the “Jesus” bandwagon.
I don’t know what you think, however, if this event had happened today, I can just imagine the television cameras rolling and right alongside the commercial programs, religious media would be heralding the arrival of the latest, greatest “miracle-worker” to hit the stage. It would be enough to turn the head of the One who was at the center of all the hoopla.
But instead, we find that in John 6: 17, after the events of the day, Jesus boarded a boat and went to Capernaum, where as you might imagine, He was followed by those wanting to be part of His entourage. And yet, rather than be distracted, Jesus turned to all those around Him with this clear message: “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me” (John 6: 38)(KJV). Talk about a purpose-driven life. What makes this statement so important is that throughout Jesus’ life on earth, from the time of His birth until His ascension into heaven, His vision of what He was to be and to do on earth never wavered. No one and nothing could modify, change or divert His attention from His Father’s will!
Whether He was joyfully feeding 5,000 hungry people or lying prostrate on the ground, feeling the separation sin was bringing between Himself and the Father He so dearly loved – His life’s purpose – to do the will of His Father, never faltered for even one second. No sorrow could dissuade His desire to do His Father’s will. No disappointment drew Him away from His’ Father’s will. And no pomp or power could turn His eyes from focusing on His Father’s will for His life.
For you and me today, the importance of grasping the enormity of the words, “Thy will be done,” as expressed by Jesus when He taught His disciples to pray, becomes the key to unlocking the very necessary element of heavenly power that carries you and me through those times when delay or unanswered prayers threaten the very bedrock of our existence and our belief that God really does care for us, even when we don’t see Him doing what we deeply long for or feel His presence in our lives.
It is in those Gethsemane moments, when the thorns not only plunge into our flesh but are scattered on every step of the road we traverse, that it is the hardest to trust, to have faith, and to believe that we can lay our future, without reservation, in the hands of our Father as we speak the words, “Thy will be done.”
Not long ago I found a booklet entitled, Expectation Corner, written by Adam Slowman. In this book he describes a place called the “Delayed Blessings Office.” This is an office where God keeps certain things that you and I pray for. Maybe it’s the job you have waited for three years to find. Maybe it’s healing from the pain that makes each day tough to survive. Perhaps it’s the broken marriage that you are praying will be healed. And most importantly of all, it may be the salvation of your child, your spouse, a dear loved one or a special friend – and nothing seems to be happening at all. There’s not a shred of evidence God’s heard your plea.
And then, just when things look the darkest, when your doubts are the greatest, at the moment when things look the most impossible -- we find out that what was delayed was not denied. As one poet so beautifully penned:
“O thou of little faith,
God hath not failed thee yet!
When all looks dark and gloomy,
Thou dost so soon forget –
Forget that He has led thee,
And gently cleared the way;
On clouds has poured His sunshine,
And turned thy night to day.
And if He’s helped thee hitherto,
He will not fail thee now.
How it must wound His loving heart
To see thy anxious brow!
Oh! Doubt not any longer,
To Him commit thy way,
Whom in the past thou trusted,
And is, ‘just the same today.’”
“The center of God’s will is our only safety.”
Betsie ten Boom
“With mercy and with judgment
My web of time He wove.
And aye the dews of sorrow
Were lustered with His love,
I’ll bless the Hand that guided,
I’ll bless the Heart that planned,
When throned where glory dwelleth,
In Immanuel’s land.
Deep waters crossed life’s pathway,
The hedge of thorns was sharp;
Now, these lie all behind me –
Oh! For a well-turned harp!
Oh! To join Hallelujahs
With your triumphant hand,
Who sing, where glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.”
Keep listening for the Night-songs of your Father when it is dark!
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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