3rd March 2020

Thy Will Be Done

“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
1 John 5:14 (NKJV)

The above is a wonderfully inspiring verse for Christians, as it tells us that God hears and answers our prayers. But that ‘if’ in there seems quite significant—a proviso that we ask “according to His will.” I wonder if you’ve stopped to think about the implications of that in terms of the way we pray about the problems we face in life?

It is common for business managers to tell their staff: ‘Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.’ but perhaps that is not the way that God wants us to interact with him. We all do it though; many times when we are faced with a problem or a crisis in our lives we work out the solution WE think is best, and then essentially we pray for God’s approval or endorsement of OUR proposed solution. This may not always be wrong, but it does limit God’s direct response options. He can only answer “Yes” or “No” or “Maybe later” to that kind of petition. It doesn’t prevent Him from responding in a different way of course, but then there would be no direct correlation between our prayer and His response.

As God is our heavenly Father, it might be helpful to consider the analogy of a human father with a young son who has a big, big problem in his life. To the little boy, his bicycle is his whole life, but it has a punctured tyre. Needless-to-say, the child’s solution is to get his puncture repaired, so he asks his Dad to repair it for him – preferably now! But let’s look at this situation through the father’s eyes. Firstly there are far more options open to him than just repairing the puncture. Secondly he can take account of innumerable other factors beyond the immediate problem as perceived by the child. What caused the puncture? Was it the child doing skids on the driveway, which he had been warned not to do? Was the puncture symptomatic of a bigger problem such as wheel alignment? Should he use this situation to teach, correct or bless the child? Let’s consider some of the father’s options, which the child probably never considered:

He might remind the child that he had not been keeping his room tidy as instructed , and that it would be good for him to be grounded until he took responsibility for his room. Or he might decide to get the child’s older brother to fix the puncture and so strengthen the relationship between them. Alternatively he could buy a puncture repair kit and a manual, and encourage the child to learn how to mend punctures himself. Or he might decide that the child had outgrown the bike and it was time to buy him a brand new one! I’m sure you can think of many other circumstances and scenarios which could be taken into account, and many more options available to the father in response to the little boy’s crisis, none of which the child would see for himself.

1 Peter 5:7 recommends “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” That suggests that it is better to bring our cares, problems and crises to Him for HIS solution, rather than just seeking His approval of OUR solution. In doing that, we don’t limit His options, and we acknowledge that our whole lives are in His hands – that He loves us and truly cares for us and will always choose the option which is best for us. What a wonderful release that can bring from worry and anxiety about outcomes. We can then KNOW that the solution and the outcome will be what’s best for us and can rest peacefully in that assurance.

Prayer
Father in Heaven, thank you for your limitless and unconditional love that we can always rely on. Thank you that every aspect of our lives now and forever are completely safe in Your hands. Help us to trust you and rely on you in all things, and thereby free us from the cares and worries of this life so that we can experience and share the joy and peace that springs from the relationship we have with You, in Christ Jesus.
Amen

Study by Richard Whiting
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About the Author:
Richard Whiting is an Elder of Grace communion International now retired and living in Dumfries in South-West Scotland

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