The Four Most Difficult Words
Wouldn’t it be great if we could ask God for what we wanted and be able to dictate how we got it? Today we will be talking about the will of God. How many of you have ever prayed the Lord’s Prayer? If so, then you will be able identify with the phrase “Thy Will Be Done.”
Sometimes in life, those are the 4 most difficult words to pray to God. Of course, these words are not hard to pray when we assume God is going to give us what we want. But when we realize that God may give us the very thing that we fear and dread, then the words “Thy will be done!” can be almost impossible to utter.
“Thy Will Be Done”
I think I have found myself praying those words a thousand times. Especially when I find myself praying for a long list of very specific things that I want to happen. I know that asking God for these things doesn’t mean they will happen. I know that if they do happen its because it is part of his grand plan. So instead of waiting for the disappointment or excitement of an answered prayer I instead stop myself and simply hand it over to God and whisper “thy will be done”.
Think about that for just a moment, “Thy will be done”. Not my will, not your will, not even our will, but thy will be done.
I have a friend at work who’s husband is an example to me. One day we were talking about a family member who had an unusual eye injury. The family was on a desperate search to find an answer for this person. Her husband looked at her and said, “Why don’t we pray about it?” – Pray about it…thy will be done. To have that kind of faith that God will protect us if we just ask him…I know I’m still working on having a faith that strong.
We can never know the plans our Lord has for us. Remember what we are promised in Romans “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
There is another concept I struggle with … In ALL things God works for the good of those who love him. It’s easy to see that when times are good, but what about the tragedies? What about Orlando or Sandy Hook? Where is God working for the good, because surely there were people in both places that loved him. It’s so hard for us not to know the plan. We might not ever know the good that was at work in any tragic situation. But we need to believe that God’s plan will bring out that good. And we need to believe that these incidents had to occur in order for something good to happen later. We need to have faith that those involved in these horrific acts were meant to be there to help fulfill God’s greater plan.
It starts with my first daughter
I have two beautiful daughters, my oldest is about to turn 3 and my youngest just turned one. With my first daughter, I was excited / nervous to go into labor because I had no idea what to expect. After my water broke, I hadn’t started contractions but I was so nervous that we went to the hospital anyway. My labor wasn’t progressing and I was told to rest overnight (yeah right!). The next morning I still wasn’t progressing so the physicians talked about giving me drugs to help things along.
At one point there was a shift change and a new resident started her shift. She told me that she wanted to give me a checkup before giving me the petosen. After the exam, there was a look of confusion on her face (she must have been a first-year resident) and she told me she wanted to do an ultrasound. She came back with the tech and they did the ultrasound.
She still looks baffled so she tells me that she is not trained to read ultra-sounds and that she wants to discuss with the attending physician. So in comes the attending physician and they do the ultrasound again. He says to the resident, “It’s easy to tell, if you move the wand horizontal then vertical. If the image stays round that is the head, if the image flattens that is the butt….see?” (He shows her the head under my diaphragm). My baby was upside down!
My world changed in an instant!
The world went into hyper-speed at that moment. The conversation suddenly changed from moving along my labor to discussing surgery. I will tell you, I did not plan for this. My whole life I had never had a broken bone or had any other surgery (besides my wisdom teeth). I had never been in true physical pain. I’m an emotional mess and signing papers detailing the risks of the surgery…and in my head I think “I could die and never see my baby.”
Everything after that was such a blurr, I hardly remember it. Between my emotions and exhaustion, I think I checked out for most of the surgery and recovery. It seemed like forever before I was able to see my baby girl. And the pain…I was so afraid of the pain. As you might imagine my recovery was difficult, more mentally than physically. I was so afraid of the pain that I had trouble coming off the pain medication. At what should have been one of the best times of my life, I struggled. But made it through and my baby girl is perfect and super flexible. At the time I could have never guessed that all of this had to happen as part of God’s plan.
And continues with the birth of my second daughter
Fast forward almost two years to the birth of my second daughter. Since I had already had one C-section, I made the decision to have another. I knew what I was in for and this time it wouldn’t be a surprise. Besides, I received an extra two weeks leave for the surgery. This time I remember everything! Including the look on my husband’s face while he watched the nurses making a fuss over something. Then I could hear others in the room asking to “see” something.
Later that day after everything settled down my physician explained what happened in the delivery room. My baby’s umbilical was unusually long, so long in fact that she managed to get two knots into it. One knot is normal and not something most people would worry about. But with two knots, chances are if I had delivered her normally, she would not have gotten through the experience safely, if at all. You see, medical staff can’t see the knots in ultrasounds. So there was no way to know that she could have been in trouble and during delivery, the knots would have tightened and cut off supplies to the baby. If I hadn’t had that first C-section, even with the difficulties it caused, I wouldn’t have had the second and I might not have my beautiful baby.
Thy will be done.
Now I don’t for one minute believe I know the end of the story. I don’t know why I had to go through so much to help my daughter get into this world safely. But I’m hoping someday to see part of the plan that God has for her. As we are told in Jeremiah “11 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.”
God Knows the Plan
God knows the plans he has for each one of us and they are good. We simply need to love him and listen for him in our lives. According to Luke 11:27 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” We need to trust that good or bad if we love God everything is happening according to God’s will.
But its hard isn’t it?
We want to control everything in our lives. We want to take the credit when something goes incredibly well and we want to place blame when things don’t work out as we expected. It’s in these times we need to step back and breathe and say “Thy will be done”
Even Jesus Needed Help
God’s will is something we have all struggled with. Even Jesus couldn’t avoid falling into the trap of asking for what he wanted. The second time he prayed in the Garden he asked God to let him avoid what was about to come. Then he stopped himself and said They Will Be Done. The words “Thy will be done” came from the lips of Jesus before his suffering started.
Hillary Scott, the female singer for Lady Antebellum, has a Christian song out on the radio called “Thy Will”. I would encourage you to listen to it because the lyrics are really powerful.
Is there anything in your life that you are struggling with that you can turn over to God right now? Are there any plans that you need to give to God? We may not understand what God is doing. We may not feel good about it or agree with it. But if we give our lives, our struggles, our joys to God he will make all things work for His glory! God’s will for you is one of eternal blessing and when you give it ALL over to God he will lead you in that direction.
This sermon is special for three reasons. This was the second sermon I ever delivered and it was in the church that I was baptized in. Later, we found out that my connection to those churches was even deeper as I was substituting for their lay leader whose grandson later joined my Vacation Bible School program! What a small world it is!