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Not My Will
If you told me a decade ago that I would be a high school English teacher, I probably would have said you we lying. As a teenager, I had my heart set on being a Veterinarian. I was obsessed with animals and genuinely thought I could save the planet. But at fourteen years old, God took away one passion and replaced it with another: Authorship.
On the surface, being an author and a teacher does not seem to align. Teaching requires talking all day, planning lessons, and maintaining your “A” Game for nine months out of the year. Writing requires long hours of thought, manuscript, editing, and publishing twenty-four seven.
Teaching is extroverted.
Writing is introversion.
Teaching is public.
Writing is private.
Teaching requires grit.
Writing requires passion.
Yet this year more than ever, God is revealing to me that I am called to both. And at least while I am in this season, I will surrender to His Will and not my own.
A Humble Submission
In Luke Chapter 22, a famous passage of Scripture recounts Jesus’ similar conversation with His Father:
“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Luke 22:42, New Living Translation).
The New International Version says it this way:
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42, New International Version).
Shortly after the Last Supper, Jesus went to the Mount of Olives to pray. He had just told His Disciples that Judas would betray Him and that He would be killed by many. As a result, He went to do what He always did: Submit and Pray.
“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down, and prayed,” (Luke 22:39-41, New International Version).
What I find most beautiful about Jesus’ prayer and submission to the Father was His ability to say “not my will, but yours be done.” Because if I am being honest, it is much easier for us to say we want God’s will when it is what we want, but much more difficult when it comes in the form of persecution, pain, heartbreak, and suffering.
It is easy to say, “Lord make me an Author.”
It is difficult to say, “Lord if you want me to be a teacher, I will.”
It is easy to say, “Lord, please give me what I want and desire.”
It is difficult to say, “Lord, please give me what I need.”
Lord, Give Us What We Need
Although Jesus prayed in the Garden for His death and crucifixion to come another way, He also prayed that God would give Him what He needed.
The death of Jesus was not beautiful. It was a horrific, painful, and traumatizing event that no person, let alone the Son of God should have to go through. And God didn’t send Jesus to die to punish Him. He didn’t send His own Son to be murdered for a lack of love.
He sent Him to demonstrate His love for us.
He sent Him to reveal His greater plan.
He sent Him to prove just how far His love would go.
When our prayers are not answered the way we wish, let us remember that Jesus’ prayers were not answered the way we wish they were either ( that He wouldn’t have had to die such a horrible death), yet God had a greater more miraculous plan. And though God did not answer Jesus the way we might have expected, He did give Him strength for His time of need.
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him” (Luke 22:42-43, New International Version).
And when Jesus gave His last breath on this earth, hanging from a cross, not only did He say “it is finished,” but “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”
Because even at this moment, hanging from a tree with blood running down His sides, God made His moment about us. He gave us what we needed, by sending His only Son to die for our sins because He knew we could never pay the price. But only He and His Son could.
Pray A Difficult Prayer
Today, praying “not my will, but yours be done,” is difficult. I am sure it was difficult then for Jesus. I am confident it is troubling and a challenge now.
But when we pray for His will to be done above all, let us be encouraged that just as He strengthened Jesus in His time of need, how much more will He care for and strengthen us?
If God loved us enough to send His own Son Jesus to die for our sins, surely He will send angels to guide, love, and support us in our challenges here and now.
When we pray, God strengthens enough- enough for each day, moment, minute, and second. And while we may not see or feel the physical presence of an angel as Jesus did, we, too, are strengthened by those He sent to guard over and protect us along the way.
That I am sure of and will place my confidence.
Not My Will.
But His Be Done.
Here on Earth.
And in Heaven.
“An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation” (Luke 22:43-46, New International Version).