Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
When we consider our relationship with God, “Your will be done” can be one of the hardest phrases to accept, because acceptance is one of the most difficult parts of our Christian journeys. To accept might feel like we’re giving up hope or exercising a lack of faith. Such a decision might also mean that we have to face the darkness that seeks to destroy us.
Nevertheless, this type of acceptance is flawed in its approach. It places the emphasis back on us when Christ is asking for us to place this burden back on Him. Such a concept does not mean that life won’t be without its fair share of trials, but what it rather does is allow us to walk boldly in the darkness. This world wants us to think that it has the final say, but when we declare – Your will be done, we’re acknowledging that it is God who has the last word, and it is in that word, we trust.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our expectations, however, are a significant source of tension when considering God’s will. If we look back at the Israelites for example, when facing the Red Sea, they probably expected a clear path to safety. Instead, they encountered some roadblocks. Facing their situation, one might think: I have nowhere to go; God, why would You bring me here? On the other hand, if we choose to accept God’s will, we start to reframe our questions. We might think: God, You allowed me to arrive here, but the outcomes don’t look too good. Can You let me know – what’s next? How do I manage the situation in front of me?
It’s hard to face the difficulties in front of us, when we’re doing our best to walk in God’s light. Frustration mounts as we wonder where to go next, forgetting that it is God who has allowed us to arrive at these very moments. I believe this is why, in part, Jesus started the Lord’s prayer as follows:
In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:9-10)
It serves as a reminder to us as to who God is and that His kingdom will reign supreme. When we embrace God’s sovereignty and holiness, we understand God remains in control – at all times. Submission and acceptance become an outward reflection of our faith, as we trust in God to carry us exactly where we need to go.
Submission as an Act of Courage
Nevertheless, submission often has a negative connotation. In submitting, we believe that we’re giving up our power. I believe, however, that when we place our will in God’s hands, we’re accessing His power. If we trust that God wants good for us, then “Your will be done” becomes a bold act of faith. It has a sense of edge and defiance against the ways of this world.
Instead of this statement solely being about submission, we’re also saying that no matter what Satan throws our way, no matter how dark the path gets, we’re trusting that “Your will” will be done. Submission to God does not have to be an act of sorrow; it can be one of courage. We can face our red seas knowing that the waters parting is always an option. And if it does not, God will still give us the strength and wisdom needed to overcome our situations.
Submission as an Act of Faith
Nevertheless, if we had a choice, we’d probably choose the waters parting. It hurts when God says no or chooses to not intervene. The fear of such an outcome might keep us from opening up to God in prayer. We’re scared of what God will or will not do, which causes a strain on our relationship with Him. When this happens, I believe that God has grace and mercy upon us. His kindness and love are still accessible even when we fail to face the burdens that frighten our souls.
I have a deep sense of gratitude for the times that God has covered me, despite my lack of trust. I caution, however, that we do not lose sight of the fact that God’s grace isn’t the same as God’s blessings. So while yes, in our weakness, God is still strong, the Bible also teaches us in Hebrews 11:6, But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
In faith, we understand that accepting God’s will isn’t just applicable when we don’t get what we want. “Your will be done” is also the promise that allows the impossible to become possible. Too often, a lack of faith will have us default to the way this world works. We then operate by those standards while proclaiming them as God’s will. That’s blasphemous. We are misrepresenting the character of God due to our own inability to embrace His greatness.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that “it’s not possible” or “that’s not the way this world works”. I’m thankful that God doesn’t follow the ways of this broken world. It’s been infected with sin and is full of sorrow. This world seeks to enslave us and ultimately destroy us. So no, we don’t want to serve a God that’s going along with the way that this world works.
Acceptance is a Daily Act
Nonetheless, it can be hard to embrace God’s will when we are being pulled in different directions, and not all with ill intent. Those we care about want the best for us, but that may not be what God has in store. 1 John 2:17 tells us: And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. Doing what God asks us of must always be our first priority. Like Abraham who left his family to answer God’s call, “Your will be done” isn’t just about accepting God’s responses to our requests. It is also a statement of our commitment.
We’re saying we’ll go where we are called. We’ll face the trials that we are given. In faith, we’ll embrace each day knowing God has the ultimate say. Yet life will throw its challenges at us, hoping to push us off course. This is why acceptance must be a daily act. Yesterday’s acceptance isn’t enough for today’s tribulations. We must choose God daily – through the tears, frustration, and impatience.
God wants to be the guiding light to carry us through the darkest of storms, but He also wants us to know that with Him, we can also have the brightest of experiences. This journey, although painted with sin, was not meant to just be one of struggle. Joy and peace are still options with God. In God’s resting place, acceptance provides relief, and submission helps us to find peace. We transfer our burdens over to God in faith, as we rest upon the promise “Your will be done”. God will always have the final say, and it is in Him – we trust.
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