Thursday, February 2, 2012

How do you pray for the Lord's will to be done...and really mean it?

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for the blessing of another day with my wonderful family.  My husband and son are gifts that you have given me, and I know that they belong to you along with everything I own.  Lord, I pray that your will would be done in our lives.  But while you're at it, can you double-check that your will includes healing my husband?  Thanks.

Okay, I have never said that verbatim.

But that's honestly what runs through my head sometimes.

And it's insincere.  My lips say "Lord, may your will be done", but my heart fears that He may actually do His will and I won't like the end result.

Even though I have made the choice (over and over again) that no matter how this situation ends, I will trust God to do His perfect will in my life, I still find myself all the time questioning whether or not Ryan dying could really be the best possible outcome.  Lord, healing him would bring You glory!  Think of all the years that Ryan could live, do ministry, speak truth to so many people, and show people how to have hope in their own lives!  Yeah, if cancer is anything like the grieving process (which there are some pretty huge similarities), I waffle between bargaining, acceptance, and denial several times a week.

My father-in-law is much more submitted to God's will than I am (at least so it seems!).  He constantly asks people for prayer in this situation, but he always asks "please pray that God's perfect will would be done".  Sometimes I want to interject and say, "No, Steve, ask for healing!"  I'm almost afraid that if too many people pray for God's will to be done, my husband will surely die.  It panics me. It's almost as if I have this constant struggle in my chest between knowing what I want, and knowing that this passage is truth:

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   neither are your ways my ways,”
            declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts.

                                       Isaiah 55: 8-9 (NIV)

So the thought that has crossed my mind this week (and Ryan's too) is how do we ask for the Lord's will to be done and really mean it?

jesus, gethsemane, praying, atonement

Hours before Jesus was arrested, he spent time praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He knew, as he was both fully man and fully God, exactly what was about to happen to him.  Despite knowing the end result (i.e., resurrection and atonement for the sins of all people), Jesus was clearly not looking forward to what was about to transpire:

Matthew 26 (NIV):

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

So there we have it.  Even the son of God prayed for "this cup" (the crucifixion) to be taken from Him.  Of course He knew that it would transpire, and why.  After all, He was/is God: He planned this.  But for one moment, we see an example of Jesus' humanity.  And yet still in spite of the momentary glimpse of human frailty, the end of verse 39 remains: "Yet not as I will, but as you will."

Jesus trusted in the plan.  As painful as dying on the cross was going to be, He knew that the outcome would glorify God and provide redemption for the rest of us scallywags.  Here's some different about me, though: I don't know the outcome of Ryan's cancer.  I don't have the same luxury of knowing the future as my Savior did.

Regardless of not knowing, do I trust Him?

Do I trust Him, that whether my husband lives or dies, that is the best outcome for God's Kingdom?

Praying for God's will to be done is SCARY.  That completely takes the control out of our hands (ha, like we really had any to begin with) and places our future squarely in the palm of our Lord.  And I know that is the best place for me to rest, is in the care of my Lord who loves me.

So like so many other choices that I've had to make for the last ten months, I am forced to make a decision of whether or not I am going to trust God:
  • to pray for His will to be done and truly mean it (trusting Him with my/our future),
  • or continue to only ask selfishly for Ryan to be healed (not trusting Him entirely).
No, it is not wrong to continue to ask for healing.  But what the Lord has convicted my heart of is that when I pray, I am not fully trusting.  I don't truly mean it when I say, "Your will be done, Lord."  I have said the words, but they haven't always been sincere.

So what decision will you make when you pray for yourself or even for us?  Do you trust that God's will is perfect, or are you still focused on what you think is best?


Cindy said...

OH honey! I feel your pain, literally. I can't wait to see you and give you hugs. Keep struggling... don't give up. I am crying out with you and for you. I have been begging God to give Ryan healing too.

Tammy Waldo said...

Dear Kendra,
What a beautiful blog. You are able to express your thoughts in such a clear way. My name is Tammy Waldo. I am a friend of Steve and Cathey’s from years ago. My husband, Kurt, worked with them at Eagle Village.

He also died at Eagle Village. He was 35 years old and died of a bee sting allergy. That was 17 years ago. Even though his death was sudden I had some of the same thoughts. The big question to God was “why?” I can honestly understand why some people might turn their backs on God in a similar situation because He could have prevented it. However, He was all I had left and I needed Him more than ever before. He was my only comfort. Kurt was an awesome man of God and could have led many people to the Lord if he had lived. It was difficult to completely trust God again for awhile. I kept looking around the corner for the next tragedy. I did not feel safe. I did not feel protected. The grief was very intense and it was almost 3 years before I had mostly good days again and could look to the future.

But I had two small boys to raise so I had to move on. God has taken such good care of us over the years. He was the best Father to my boys. Now both my boys are in ministry and I am becoming a missionary. I believe that Kurt would have been pleased.

I’m only sharing this with you to let you know that there is hope whatever God’s plan is. I believe in miracles and I am praying that Ryan will be completely healed. Whatever happens God will take care of both of you and He does have a plan.

God Bless,