Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Thy Will Be Done

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.

The Lord's Prayer is a traditional church reading. In contemporary churches it is becoming a memory, one of those rituals lost to the modern culture of emotional worship. But the Lord's Prayer is so much more than a jumble of words repeated in monotone voices, echoed from a stiff and uptight congregation. The Lord's Prayer is the inspired Word of God. It is a mandate from the Lord himself. This is how you are to pray. It is the blueprint for communication with Holy, Father God.
Still, when it is spoken in church it is often simply glossed over and rushed through as nothing more then a doctrinal ritual, a task to be crossed off the list. How often are the words really meditated upon, pondered and contemplated? Do we even know the gravity of the words we are speaking?
As I was reading through the Lord's Prayer today I was struck by the simple phrase, "Thy will be done".... It is so basic. It is a sentence that, upon first glance, doesn't shake the earth or stop the reader dead in their tracks. At least it didn't do that to this reader - until today. It was not until today that I realized the importance of those words that I have prayed a thousand times. Since I was a young child I've repeated this prayer and yet I have never been so impacted by its words.
Each time I've prayed that prayer I've asked God to do his will. I didn't ask him for my own. This prayer isn't about the requests of the flesh or the personal desires of the human heart. No, this prayer is about fulfilling God's purpose. It doesn't seek to know what that purpose is, it simply trusts that God has a will and a plan. That plan and that will aren't always going to be revealed to us in our own timing. In fact, more often that not, it will feel like a great mystery that we wish we could unlock. But God doesn't work in the ways of his children. He doesn't give them answers when they think they should have them and doesn't chart out the path they expect or might think they want. He has his own plan and it is always better than our own. 
Maybe by human standards the path God takes us on will look twisted and confused. By earthly standards it might seem to be a complete mess or at least undesirable. God's will might not include a fancy house, luxury, good health, physical comforts or honor in the public eye. God's will might mean persecution, sickness and struggle. But we must remember what we prayed for. "Thy will." 
God's agenda is not our own. His agenda is not that his children have earthly gems and worldly success. His agenda is that his kingdom be glorified and magnified. Sometimes, in order to achieve that end, suffering must enter in. Jesus is the ultimate picture of this. He came to earth solely for this purpose. His entire life mission was to die so that others could know God personally and intimately. He lived so that others could be freed from the burden of sin that trapped them in a life separated from their Heavenly Father. He had to come as a baby, be raised in a world full of human failings and ultimately had to die the worst death imaginable: a slow, painful death on a cross. And this was all God's will. 
Why? How? If God loved Jesus and if he loves us how could he possible let us suffer? So that his kingdom can spread. So that others can be brought into fellowship with him. In our eyes this might make little to no sense. It doesn't fit into our neat little box of "logic." And good thing, because God doesn't want it to. He doesn't want to be understood in earthly terms. He is so much greater, that our earthly understanding doesn't do him and his power justice. 
This side of Heaven there will be many circumstances and situations that we don't understand. But God does. He understands them because he orchestrates them if we allow him to have that power in our lives. If we earnestly seek him and sincerely desire his will, he will lead our lives down a path of righteousness for his name's sake. Not for us. Not to glorify or magnify ourselves. Not to lift ourselves up. No, we will be humbled, persecuted and tried in this life. Yet, even in the midst of that suffering, God can be glorified. It is in these times when God can be glorified higher then in any other. When life is humming along with little resistance and no struggle it is easy to forget to look to God and to see him working. Instead we become lost in the comfort of an easy life. When things get tough and the road becomes bumpy we can see God at work. We see him in the peace he gives, the circumstances he can engineer, the lives he can touch and the hearts he can change. 
His will is not our own and still we pray for it.  We pray that it will be done in our lives and on this earth, just as it is in Heaven. We pray for his will so that his kingdom can come. We pray for his glory and his power, for ever.

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