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?
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).
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?