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“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42
Most of us are familiar with the above verse; it was spoken during one of the most desperate times in our Lord Jesus’ life. The setting was in the garden of Gethsemane just moments before Jesus would meet His fate in a Roman court which would ultimately decide his death by crucifixion.
What I find most fascinating about Jesus’ prayer to His Father is the fact that though He was in anguish (torment, suffering, agony) to the point of sweating drops of blood, He pushed aside His desire to have the assignment canceled and openly proclaimed to His Father that He would rather have His will and plan for His life (despite the pain and suffering it included) rather than have His prayer answered if it contradicted that perfect plan.
How many of us tag our prayers with, “not my will, but yours be done” as Jesus did? When we pray, do we expect God to give us exactly what we ask for, or do we make room for Him to give us His best?
If you are like me, when you face a crisis or trial in your life, you begin to pray for the solution that you think will solve the problem. If you have lost a job, you immediately begin to pray for a new job. If a loved one is sick, you begin to pray for a miraculous healing; when an appliance breaks or an unexpected repair needs to be done on the car, we pray for a financial blessing to repair or replace the item. Though it is natural and right to pray for these things, I have come to learn that we must always be open to the fact that God may have a different plan to solve our problems, a plan that is usually opposite of our own.
I learned (or shall I say “relearned”) this lesson of being open to God’s plan when after praying for months for a specific answer to a dilemma I was facing, and not having the answer I was expecting, that I came to the end of myself. I had done all I knew to do with no desired results. With time running out and no deliverance in sight, I then cried out to God in my own Garden of Gethsemane for direction and guidance on my journey. That’s when God was able to finally speak to my heart and reveal His perfect plan for me.
He began by asking me this simple question, “Is that really what you want?” For a moment I was baffled, “What else could I ask for but this?” I thought to myself. But then the Lord went on to remind me of the extra burdens I would carry if He were to grant me my heart’s desire, burdens even I knew would be harsh and heavy. Once He played a video of how my life would look if He gave me what I had been asking for day after day, I stopped, and thought to myself, “Well, is there another alternative?”
In my naivety to God’s ways, He gently reminded me of what I truly wanted for my life; dreams that had died in my heart years ago in the hustle and bustle of life. In five minutes, God not only resurrected my dreams but revealed to me His plan for my future, which, as you can imagine, was so much better and grander than what I had in mind.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Once I gained a clearer picture of my life through God’s eyes, I knew that as practical as my prayers were, they would have ultimately hindered my restoration and delayed His promises for my life and the life of my children.
So, I ask you once again, are you able to ask God for what you want, but then have the courage to end your prayers with, “not my will, but yours be done” expecting and hoping that God will override your requests if they contradict His perfect plan for your life?
If you are not at that place yet, a place commonly known as “surrender,” then you may be missing out on God’s best for your life. And if you, like me, have watched week after week and month after month go by with no answer to your prayers, don’t fret. It may just be that God is either setting up the circumstances and people to make it happen at the right time, or perhaps He is delaying your request because He knows that it will not bring about the healing or restoration you desire with your spouse, children, family members, or friends.
Nevertheless, take heart, because no matter where you are in your life walk with the Lord, know that even if you have made a wrong turn and gotten off course as I did, God is more than able to get you back on the right track for His glory. Believe that He wants only the best for you, and when you leave room for Him to do His will in your life, the results will always be better than you could have ever hope for or imagined.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
Tiffany in Texas