As in all He did, our Lord and Savior is the perfect example of how we are to face the Will of God in our lives:
He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” – Matthew 26:39
Struggling in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus faced in His heart, soul and mind what He would soon face in His body; His upcoming crucifixion and death. With agonized praying with a fervent intensity that made His sweat become like drops of blood (Luke 22:44), He not only accepted His Father’s Will, but embraced it as the purpose of His coming to us in the first place. We may accept God’s will, but how many of us truly embrace it, as Christ did at Gethsemane? No doubt should exist in our minds that His plans and purposes for our lives are perfect, as is His timing. Yet, I think we struggle with embracing that idea, and it is likely many have trouble with actually accepting it either. For what if His Will would have us suffer for the cause of Christ?
For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11 (NASB)
These words, spoken to Israel during the Babylonian captivity, show the Lord as a God of planning and order, in addition to His loving and gracious nature. While this statement is not addressed to the Church but to Israel, I think it clearly shows a God who has plans and purposes laid out in advance, and He is a God who can in sovereignty bring these plans to pass. But that does not mean His plans are all sunshine and parades for all of us, or even necessarily that for any of us. If you believe the highest purpose for man is God’s glory (and the growth of His kingdom), His plans for any of us might mean unhappy circumstances in our eyes. Just go back to Gethsemane to see the will of the Father obeyed. His plans perfected in the Son’s obedience, culminated upon the Cross. The glory and joyous occurrence of the resurrection and ascension of Jesus could not have occurred without the abject horror of the Cross. Our hope resides in an event seen by the world as hopelessness and defeat; it only came about because Jesus embraced the will of the Father and obeyed it as His own. What if His call to us is one of struggle and suffering for His glory to become manifest in the lives of others through us?
In the call placed upon our lives by our bond-service to Jesus as His disciples, are we ready to embrace the will of God and face His purposes for us with a joyous obedience? Are we willing to sweat blood as we struggle with our human nature in trying to be obedient to the Divine Will? It is so much easier to ask “Why me?’ than to say “Not my will but Yours be done.” It is so much easier for us to embrace our “right” to question and seek answers before reaching a decision than it is to embrace a decision made for us by God. Jesus more than any had the power and ability to make His own decisions, to pave the road He was to walk on His own, for Himself. But He chose to reveal the Father to us by obediently following His Father’s Will for His life. We should not balk if God asks the same from us that Jesus so willingly did.
The very possibility of us embracing His Will unquestioned requires a bedrock steadfastness to our faith walk and if done, is the defining moment of our lives.