Wooden cross in Good Shepherd Chapel



Not My Will, But Thine

Lent 2018

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Matthew. 6:10

As Christians, we often condition things on the will of God: “If God wills,” we affirm. “God’s will be done,” we say. “Not my will but thine be done,” we pray. But what is God’s will? How do you know it when you see it? An even more difficult question is, do we really want to know what God’s will is? What if it conflicts with our own will? But that’s the least of our problems.

The disturbing fact is that this petition, “thy will be done on earth,” is prayed before the backdrop of an earth in which it is increasingly clear that the Lord’s will, whatever it is, doesn’t seem to be getting done very much. Just take a look around. Nation wages war against nation, people against people. People die; they get sick, they hurt each other. Can all this really be God’s will?

So don't look out there. You won’t find the answer there. Instead look to the one who is teaching us to pray this. The power in this petition is that it is our Lord who invites it. He teaches us how to pray and shows us what the will of God is.

See, God revealed his will for us, not by sending signs and wonders for us to decipher, but by incarnating his will in the person of his Son. Jesus is God’s personified will, speaking and acting out God’s will, giving his life in love and sacrifice on the cross, showing us the heart of his Father. Everything that happens to you must first pass muster before your Father’s heart. Even in the midst of contradiction and ambiguity the thoughts of that heart are thoughts of peace toward you. Even the darkest place of your life must be seen in this light, in this Christ-light.

Of course, we know that God’s will is done on earth without our prayers. But, in this petition we pray that it would be done among us and that we might have the wisdom to discern what his will for us is.

Pastor Jack Preus
Former President, Concordia University Irvine
Executive Director at The Luther Institute - Southeast Asia

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