Sunday, February 13, 2011

May my will be done ...

God’s will. Do we really want it to be done? 

I think we’d all say yes. But what if that means your world gets rocked and your plans get derailed.  Still want it?

We’ve been preaching through the Lord’s prayer at our little worship service in the basement.  It’s been quite uncomfortable actually. "Thy will be done" stops me in my tracks. I’ve been wondering if I have what it takes to pray this prayer with any degree of sincerity and/or commitment.

In all honesty God’s will plays second fiddle all too often and the  truer prayer is …”May my will be done.”  I bet you know what I’m talking about.

God’s will is pretty clear on the macro level.  Cyprian and early Church Father says it pretty clearly: “The will of God ...means humility in behavior, constancy in faith, modesty in conversation, justice in deeds, mercy in judgments, discipline in morals. We should be incapable of doing wrong to anyone but able to bear patiently wrongs done to us. It requires that we live at peace with our brothers and sisters, loving God with our whole heart; loving Him as our Father.”

Who wouldn’t cheer for that definition?  But when the rubber hits the road living into God’s will isn’t quite that easy.

Here’s what gets in the way of ‘thy will be done”. We love the patterns of this world of ours.  We feel entitled.  We like going along with the crowd. We’re not particularly thoughtful or prayerful.  We can justify just about anything.  We conform too easily. And we really want God to be made into our image instead of being made into His. The decisions we make are made to make us feel good, to massage our ego, to mask our pain or to look good to others.  And if that’s the habit of our life then praying ‘thy will be done’ is really a stretch for us.  And basically it’s a lie.

All too often instead of seeking God’s will for my life I turn to what’s easy and convenient and shy away from commitments that might make my life inconvenient and sacrificial. 

The  will of God can get lost in the clutter of life.  But  even amidst the clutter God is still there, His will waiting to be discovered, searched for and discerned.

Discovering the will of God requires an understanding of Scripture, a willingness to distance ourselves from our ego, it requires dialogue with trusted friends, an awareness of the God driven commitments we already have in place ...and a willingness to take a leap of faith and fall into the arms of a loving God and taking our proper place in the story of faith.  And that’s the constant wrestling match in my own life. Am I willing to trust God even if appears that I’m out of step with the prevailing culture?

These are weighty things. And sometimes all I can do is muster up the courage to ‘do the next right thing’. I just don’t have the energy sometimes for digging deeper into scripture, or fight with my ego, or even converse with friends.  Sometimes all I can do is the next right thing and even that is a stretch.  But it always feels good to just take that little step of faith.  Sometimes it frees us.

In Busia, Uganda awhile back I met a woman who had taken in 26 boys who had been recruited by the Lord’s Republican Army. These boys (10, 11, 12 many of them) had watched their own parents die and some were forced to participate in those executions. They were then taught to be terrorists. Somehow these children were rescued. Their needs were great. The women we met needed help. She needed to feed these children who struggled to sleep at night because of the nightmares of their past.

And we were there. A handful of Americans and New Zealanders.  We were all being called to step into God’s will.  I think everyone stepped up to do something that night to help alleviate the pain.  It was the right thing to do.  But that right thing led to Anita and myself to rethink our giving patterns.  How best, we wondered, could we use what we have to reach the ‘least of these’? We live in a world where our comfort might very well be our prison cell and our generosity might be our release from captivity.  

I haven’t always believed that the little things are the big things.  I’m learning now that they are.  Stepping into God’s will is one little baby step at a time (thank you Bill Murray) for many of us.  And sometimes that’s all we can do.  But at least it’s a step with purpose.  And God can do something with that.

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