Search This Blog

Monday, January 12, 2015

Can You Honestly Pray, "Not as I Will, But as You Will?"

Matthew 26:39 (ESV)
39  And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

I have no trouble praying the first part of Jesus' prayer. There are many things that I have asked Jesus to let pass from me. There are times that you have to face people who honestly hate you (though they never say that at church because they know that would be wrong) and seek to criticize everything you do. These people are hard to face because they work to make things look bad. They often have a point and they stab you in the heart with it. So, I would like to avoid those people and those occasions. Its the second part of His prayer that gives me the most fits.

Jesus prayed that His Father's will should come first. I know that I am supposed to do that. I just don't expect to commit to God's will over my will.

I have been praying lately that God would not allow me to live an obscure life. I asked Him if I could be somebody. That is, somebody whose work for Him would have significance. Underlying that prayer is a desire to be someone who is recognized as somebody who has made a difference for the cause of Christ. So, when I read Jesus' prayer I was taken back. Would I also pray that God's will should overrule my will?

Am I willing to drink from the same cup as Jesus? No, I don't mean going to the cross or even dying as a martyr. I mean to have very few people who knew who I am when I die. To plant seeds of faith in others that I will never see grow during my lifetime. To have the bulk of what I have done not even be noticed until I am gone. Would I accept that will?

I know that I would rather have people read my blog, share it with others and long for the day they could hear me preach. I would like to have a church that was growing so large that I would be asked to speak at conferences just so people could hear how wise I am. I would like to write books that everyone would read and would stand in line so that I would sign them. I would like to be rich and famous. Yes, this is my confession. I admit to my human frailty.

I have been blessed to know people in the ministry who have all these things. Their churches are large. They have written books and they are asked to speak at the most notable affairs. I want the same things for myself. But let's suppose that God has different plans. Suppose that God will do more with me after I am gone from this earth than He ever did while I was on the earth. Would I be okay with that or would I rather have everything now and nothing happen after I am gone?

Jesus held on for His Father's will. He genuinely put His Father's will above His own. He endured the ridicule of the soldiers, the crowd, Herod and the Jewish people. He died for the very people who crucified Him. He was relatively obscure at His death. He went into heaven and the whole world was changed.

Yes, I know what I should want. I know what I should be praying. I am having a hard time praying it. So, I'll just keep praying it until I finally mean it.


Anthony Chia said...

This one is a tough one; don't we struggle with it! Yes, we do; I do.

A couple of years back I was like I was "larger" than many, perhaps, seen as one, even over some full-time workers, yet in the recent year or two, things have slided to such low level that I wonder if there is still any use of me downplaying other aspects of life like career and so on, to supposedly devote time and energy to pursue the ministry that I thought I was (am still?) called to.

Just before that period, I was riding high on my secular career, but I sought the Lord to find the ministry I could serve in. "Hell broke loose!" I lost my job, stayed unemployed for considerable time due to market's financial crisis, and to top it all, my wife filed to divorce me, and wanted to take my children from me and migrate to far away Europe. It was terrible. I was divorced and went into a 4 years + legal battle for my children. It was most painful and difficult. But the time that the world collapsed on me, was the time The Lord came and sustained me by letting me partner Him in healing ministry, ministering to people, touching many lives, and seeing signs and wonders happening through the ministry. It was a most difficult period and yet a most wonderful period; difficult because of the long drawn and costly divorce proceedings, wonderful because The Lord's moving through me.

Not trying to compare to Jesus, But can't help noticing that Jesus who served God as a man, suffered greatly, while He had God moving through Him in most wondrous ways.

The bad that happened to me was not the work of God, but part of the enemy's snare, and so, there is often a price to pay, because the enemy won't let us have it easy, when we are serious to walk in the will, God has for us.

But the encounters with God do often change us. On the one hand, we want more of the walking in the will of God where we find satisfaction and fulfillment, on the other, dark principality would step up its effort to make us pay. I am NOT saying that a godly man cannot be wealthy and prestigious, but such are mostly part of what belongs to the worldly culture, which the enemy has perpetuated and still perpetuating, and so, the very things the evil one can give, it will try to deprive you of them, if it can.

Does not God step in, and thwart all of these deprivation? At His discretion, He may opt NOT to shield every fiery dart from the enemy. One thing for sure, God needs to refine us; it is for each, the settings God uses (NOT necessarily He caused it) vary. If you have more, thank God, I mean really thank God for it; if you have less, thank God too, for God knows best; besides, Scripture said that when more is given (or not allowed to be taken away), more is expected.

When I had it good, referring to experiencing God moving through me, I wanted more, and so, since a few years back I decided I would pursue the more meaningful thing - having God move through me. Despite the slide I referred to, at beginning of this comment, I still want more, and had given up, a few months ago, my full-time career. Maybe foolish, maybe not; to experience God moving through me would make it all worthed it; only I have to keep my heart right, and truly to be a blessing to others.

Surely, the Word stays true, that the righteous or his children do not need to go a-begging. As side, I fought my divorce battle on ground of righteousness, and the Court did eventually give the care and control for my children, over to me.

The will of God and that of the world is in conflict; want the will of God, expect challenges from the world and from the enemy.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

Prentis McGoldrick said...

Your testimony is something that everyone should read. God is indeed wonderful. He never leaves your side even when you can't see Him. God bless you.