“I delight to do Thy will,
O My God: yea,
Thy law is within
Psalm 40: 8
“Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
Matthew 6: 10
“There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘All right, then, have it your way.’”
Have I chosen to accept God’s Will for my life each day?
“The center of God’s will is our only safety.”
Betsie Ten Boom
When I was six years-old, my dad and I went into the market one day to do some grocery shopping. On a sale table, my sharp eyes and over-active tastebuds spotted bags of pink and white marshmallow cookies with chocolate drizzled all over the top. My mouth began to water. In the most plaintive way I could, I asked my dad if we could get one package. I pointed out to him that the cookies were even, “on sale!” The pitiful look on my face must have gotten through his, “this isn’t healthy” mindset. I went home a happy girl, ready to partake! And partake I did. One cookie after another after another! My dad, noticing the contents in the bag were disappearing very rapidly, advised me to limit my intake of the cookies. I ignored him. When he wasn’t looking, I headed for the kitchen and in short order the entire package had been consumed.
About this time you may be wondering how I could remember something like this when the incident happened so long ago. Very easily! All night long, I was sick – so sick in fact that those cookies ended up, coming up! (I think you know what I mean!) To this day, I have never eaten another marshmallow cookie. Even the sight of them nearly makes me feel “queasy!”
I learned very early in my life that sometimes when we get what we want…when we do exactly as we want…in spite of better advice – the consequences of our behavior can be very unpleasant!
Obviously, our Heavenly Father understood this about His kids. So He gave us a kindly piece of advice in the Lord’s Prayer when He invited us to ask that His will be carried out on earth as it is in Heaven.
When the Lord’s Prayer begins, God tells us what to call Him – He gives us His name – Dad, My Father. Second, He invites us to open the doors of our hearts to the rulership of His kingdom. And third, He tells us that when His sovereign rule is established in our hearts – something wonderful happens! God’s will is done on earth as it is done in heaven. Or as the word “will” is translated: God’s purpose, desires and pleasures come to pass. So how does God’s will come to pass on earth? God’s will is carried out by His children who have His kingdom in their hearts.
However, the carrying out of God’s will in your life and mine has three specific points we need to be aware of.
Number l: Earth is controlled by Heaven – not the other way around. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus told His disciples to pray that God’s will would be done “on earth as it is in Heaven.” All I can say is, “Thank you!” Would you and I want the chaos of life on earth trying to control or run or be in anyway involved in managing things in Heaven? No way! I’m so thankful, My Father in heaven says, “Ask that My will, the way things are done in Heaven, be carried out on earth.”
Number 2: God’s will becomes the guiding force of my life. I don’t order God around using Him like some goodie bag in the sky. To paraphrase the words of Thomas Aquinas, “A (woman’s) heart is right when (she) wills what God wills.” Who is in charge? God! Who is in control? God! Who is my guide? God! And the consequences of God’s kingdom in my heart is that His will is established and done in my world as it is done in His world! I just love that! No destructive or painful consequences result from my willfulness in demanding that I get to eat all the cookies I want. When I am walking in God’s will, as Dante so eloquently wrote: “In doing God’s will, we find our peace.”
Number 3: When I ask God to carry out His will on earth as it is done in Heaven, I’m asking for His guidance of my own life—not a blank check to tell everybody else what I think His will is for their lives. Please don’t be confused by what I just said. As a Christian, Jesus encourages, even commands us to share the story of His unconditional and unending love with others. But somewhere along the way, well-meaning individuals can get their wires crossed. What once was sharing the love of Jesus can become a license to give advice on what we think God’s will is for everybody else’s life. I know this to be true because I’ve been on the receiving end of some of this well-intentioned counsel. You may have, too! Someone says to you, “God has shown me that this is what He wants you to do.” What I have found is that it is often a lot easier to tell others what you think God’s will is for their lives than to let Him carry out His will in your own life. Listening to God everyday; walking on the path He has laid out for me; and being obedient to His guiding hand takes all of my focus and all of my energy. As frail humans we have little strength to spare trying to boss around and run the lives of those around us. In simple words, it is best to pray for those whom we feel need God’s guidance. Then we have left them in the care of the most capable, loving and protective hands in the universe – God’s hands. And it is there where they will find His purpose for their lives.
As I shared with you several months ago, my husband and I were in a very severe car accident that left us both hospitalized for four months with over 35 broken bones each, many bones with multiple fractures and some crushed into little bits. For the first few weeks, the doctors doubted we would survive. During this time, as you might imagine, family members were trying to find out what they could about any wishes we might have had which were contained in our “Will.” Obviously, we lived and once we arrived home and were improving, we began to reassess some of our legal documents. One of the things we decided we needed to do was to take a closer look at our “Will” which was not what you could call current. Much to our shock, with close scrutiny of all the documents, we found that our life insurance policies had as the beneficiaries, “the children.” The problem is, we don’t have any children. Somehow, the company issuing the policies had assumed there were children and written this in as a standard line. Should we have died our “Will” would not have carried out our wishes or desires or purpose.
This experience prompted me to think about the reason why the Lord’s Prayer reminds us, whenever we repeat these beautiful words, that we, you and I, are daily to ask God to carry out His will – His wishes – His desires – and His purpose in our lives and through our lives. Thus, the phrase, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Not long ago I read a wonderful little story that underscores, the very reason we have to carry out the wishes, the will of our Father. I want to end our devotional with this legend:
“There is a very old legend, and all legends that persist speak truth, concerning the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to heaven after his Ascension. It is said that the angel Gabriel met him at the gates of the city.
‘Lord this is a great salvation that thou hast wrought,’ said the angel. But the Lord Jesus said only, ‘Yes.’
‘What plans hast thou made for carrying on the work? How are all to know what thou hast done?’ asked Gabriel.
‘I left Peter and James and John and Martha and Mary to tell their friends, their friends to tell their friends, till all the world should know.’
‘But Lord Jesus’, said Gabriel, ‘suppose Peter is too busy with the nets, or Martha with the housework, or the friends they tell are too occupied, and forget to tell their friends – what then?’
The Lord Jesus did not answer at once; then he said in his quiet wonderful voice: ‘I have not made any other plans. I am counting on them.’”
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom
come. Your will be done on earth as in
heaven. Give us this today our daily
bread. Forgive us our sins, as we
forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial and
deliver us from evil. (For the kingdom,
the power, and the glory are yours).
English Language Liturgical Consultation
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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