Monday, March 28, 2005

Submission . . . again

Luke 22:42"Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine."

We face daily opportunities to yield our wills and lives in countless ways. However, there are some encounters so significant - when the choice to yield is so challenged and death so distasteful - that the altars of sacrifice will forever be reminders of His loving Lordship. You see, He never forces that death; He looks for willing sacrifice.

In my past I have two such altars of remembrance: times when giving up my will to His was a prolonged, incredibly agonizing wrestling match. I recently erected a third.

Somtimes our wills are firmly set, our minds are deeply entrenched in a certain paradigm, and we have set our hearts in that direction. And if that will or mindset is in any way contrary to His, He will ask for it. It is then that we must take up our cross and follow.

It is mercy revealed that would challenge us to lay down our wills. If left to our own desires, they would ultimately result in the death that all flesh knows. He gives us the opportunity to lay down our wills, sacrifice those desires, and put them to death at the altar, thereby receiving His life-giving will in return.

In my recent encounter, the arduous wrestling with my will was agonizing. I was wondering if it could be sincere when accompanied with such pain. Could I truly declare with the Lord, "I delight to do thy will, Oh my God"? This was far from delightful. This was an obstinate display of self-will. Not pretty in any way.

I found myself in church the following week singing a worship song with these words - "whose obedience shows the way for me" - and immediately recalled the Garden of Gethsemane. His willingness was not accompanied with jumps of joy and cartwheels. Instead He brought to the altar blood, sweat, and tears. I could relate. This was a supreme act of will - a laying down of a fleshly will for the lifting up of a purer will - God's will. And He showed us how. We must lay it all at His feet and say, "Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done."

The act itself is simple - a child could do it. But the act of obedience involved is, at times, wrought with pain and suffering. Death is not always easy. But the fruit it yields is life.

At that recently erected altar there was no outward display of emotional joy - no cartwheels, no exultant shouts of "hooray!" But the inward delight came springing forth with abundance, bubbling up from that eternal fount found within all who are His. This death, this cross, could only result in tremendous life and fruit! My soul was flooded with hope once more. His will would reign supreme again. Could there possibly be anything better?

Psalm 40:8 I delight to do thy will, Oh my God!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home