Tuesday, November 7, 2017

My Will Versus God's & Update on LD

"And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done."
Luke 22:41,42
(KJV)


When God created Adam and Eve, He did not create robots.
He made them in His image, and within the fiber of who they were, was something called a "will".
God has a will.
He wanted mankind to have one, too.
According to dictionary.com, the will can be defined as,
"the faculty of conscious and especially of deliberate action; 
the power of control the mind has over its own actions:
power of choosing one's own actions:
the act or process of using or asserting one's choice; volition:
wish or desire:
purpose or determination, often hearty or stubborn determination; willfulness:
the wish or purpose as carried out, or to be carried out."

Every, single one of us descends from those first two created human beings.
Therefore, each one of us possesses the same inherent characteristics.
This includes a "will" of our very own.

God does not force us to think like or as He thinks.
Rather, He gives us the power to think as we choose.
To believe according to our own preference.
To do what we want to do, without restraint.
We can "go our own way", like the old rock song, written by Lindsey Buckinham and sung and made famous by "Fleetwood Mac", tells us to do.

Though God has put into place specific, definitive laws, mandates, and boundaries,
and though He has clearly laid out in His Word the exact way He wants us to live,
and though the absolute only way to Heaven is to walk within those designated, precise perimeters,
and though it breaks His loving heart to see us veer and wander outside the protective fringes of those appropriated earmarks, He allows us to decide whether or not we will "go our own way".

Though He woos us and draws us with His great love, He does not coerce us into loving Him back.
Though He longs for our love and devotion with all of His heart,
He made the decision to hand us the "gift" of choice.
Along with an endowment of such significance and magnitude comes monumental responsibility.

I have read the recorded words of Jesus' anguished prayer prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane shortly before His arrest and the most tortured, agonizing night of terror known to man.
I have read of how He prayed so hard that His sweat literally fell to the ground as great drops of blood.
I have imagined the intensity of such a prayer.
But, it is only now that I have grasped a new truth concerning the words He said.

"Not My Will, but Thine be done."

Like you and me, Jesus Christ had a will of His own, and, in that moment,
His will was different from His Father's.

Can you blame Him?
Who among us would "will" to be brutally scourged within an inch of our life?
Whose will would line up with being openly humiliated, slapped, spit upon, reviled, and tortured?
Whose will would rejoice in the thought of a crown of sharp, pointed thorns being forced through the tender, thin skin of any one of our heads?
Whose will would compel us to want to take hold of a rugged wooden cross and feel the excruciating moment of contact between splintered, jagged weight and freshly-lacerated, mutilated, skin-torn, still-bleeding, raw back?
Whose will would prefer to carry said, heavy cross through the Via Dolorosa,
peppered every inch by continual friction of splinters and raw back?
 
The human side of Jesus drew back from this every bit as much as yours or mine would recoil.
But, He prayed until He could say from the heart, "NOT My will, but Thy will be done."

The battle was won in the Garden of Gethsemane before He faced the agonizing scourging and crucifixion, because that is where He won the battle of the wills.
Once Jesus surrendered His will and made up His mind to allow God's will to supersede His own,
peace that passes all human understanding came to His spirit, and He was able to endure the awful path that was laid out before Him.

It is hard for me to comprehend that Jesus had to "learn" anything.
After all, He is God.
He made the worlds.
He holds all in the palm of His hands.
But, when He walked the earth, the flesh, human side of Jesus had to be brought into subjection to His Father's will,
and the way He learned obedience is through the awful things He had to suffer.

"Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered..."
Hebrews 5:8

If Jesus Christ, the Son of God, had to learn obedience, how much more must we?
If His learning came by way of suffering, shouldn't we expect ours to come that way, too?

Lately, God has been teaching me about endurance, and how, as humans, we must learn to endure.
Just as Jesus had to learn to endure His sufferings, so must we.
If we are to be His followers and walk in His footsteps, won't our path resemble, at least in a small degree, His?

Recently, while Kevin worked 3rd shift, Zach and I were called to a task that was, to say the least, taxing.
I arrived at the premises of the all-night obligation dog-tired and bone-weary, as the old saying goes.
Just physically and mentally exhausted.
As I turned off the motor and prepared to walk inside, I whispered,
"Lord, HOW am I going to get through this?"
This is what I instantly heard from His still, small voice,
"You are just going to have to endure it."

Need I say that this is NOT what I wanted to hear?
This was NOT my will, but it was obviously His.
There was an instant conflict between the two.

Though He has called upon me to endure much throughout life, I've never had the Lord say something like that to me....so straightforward...so matter-of-fact and in a tone that was gentle, of course, but firm and non-negotiable.
Usually, in undesirable situations, a familiar, comforting Scripture verse will come to mind...
one like, "My grace is sufficient for thee." (2 Corinthians 12:9),
or
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (I Corinthians 10:13)

Never, have I had the dear Lord simply say, "You are just going to have to endure it."

It is not my will to "endure".
Enduring is hard.
So unpleasant and against the grain of my ease-loving nature.

Endure:
"to hold out against, sustain without impairment or yielding, undergo,
to bear without resistance, tolerate,
to continue to exist, last,
suffer without yielding, suffer patiently"

I found it interesting that the antonyms for endure are:
fail and die

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right?

As soon as I heard the dear Lord's words, my mind went to 2 Timothy 2:3,
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."

The very next thought, came in the form of Hebrews 12:2,
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."

Jesus was God's son, in the flesh, living in a human body with a will of His own.
He had to bring that human body and will into subjection and agreement with the will of His Father
in order to endure the cross and such abuse from sinners.
The human side of Jesus had to be surrendered to the Divine.
Because He surrendered...because He endured....because He outlasted the trials, you and I can, too.
Are we not joint-heirs with Him now?
Are we not His siblings?
Have we not been adopted into the Kingdom of His Father?
Are we not all His children?

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together."
Romans 8:16,17

"If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?"
Hebrews 12:7

Suffering and enduring are all a part of the package in being a child of God and following Christ.
He bore a cross that is immeasurably beyond any cross you and I will ever pick up and carry in this life.
He endured all, so that we could be adopted and elevated to the position of sons and daughters of God, and He said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23)

Denying ourselves means surrendering our will to God's.
It means allowing Him to take full control of our lives.
It means coming to a place of willingness to endure whatever He asks us to, regardless how unpleasant.

Notice that little five-letter word, "daily", in the above verse?
Just because we surrendered our all and allowed God's will to trump our own yesterday,
does not mean it is not a whole new ballgame today.
Each day presents its own unique challenges, its own exclusive barbs that will inevitably go against our grain and create a "cross".
Each new day requires a fresh consecration and surrender of our will to God's.
This is the only way we will ever be able to endure the fiery trials that He allows to come our way.

Zach and I endured and made it through that awful, trying night, and many, many others,
by continuing to surrender what we want to what God wants, by steadily praying Jesus' prayer from the Garden of Gethsemane,
"Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done."  Luke 21:42

Sometimes, it is as simple as A-B-C.

Acknowledge that there is a conflict, and my will is in direct opposition to God's.
"For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want."  Galatians 5:17 (NIV)

Be still, and know, and accept the reality that He is God, and I am not.
"Be still, and know that I am God..."  Psalm 46:10
Consecrate what I want on the altar of sacrifice to Him in total surrender to what He wants.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."  Romans 12:1


Thy Will Be Done - Hillary Scott

Update on my brother-in-law, LD
I want to thank each one of you for your earnest prayers for LD.
Praise God, he is off the ventilator, and his kidneys are functioning on their own!!!
He has been moved from the Intensive Care Unit to a regular room.
This is nothing short of a Divine-intervention miracle, and we give all glory to God for getting him through this crisis!

Now, he faces the reality of stage 4 lung cancer, with all of its complications.
We know God is not limited by anything or any stage of disease.
He has all power, and nothing is impossible for Him.
We would so appreciate your continued prayers for a miracle for LD and for strength and comfort for my sister, Debbie, nephew, Mark, and all of our family during this time.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for every prayer you have prayed and for your faithfulness to encourage, support, and befriend us through all of life's ups and downs.
I love each one of you readers so dearly.
You each hold a very special place in my heart.
God bless you and meet any needs you have today.
I am praying for all who will read these words, as I type them.

28 comments:

  1. Oh, Cheryl. This is so well written and hits so deep in my soul. Thank you so much for visiting, I am blessed to have found you - through Stephanie's "teacup ministry." I am using that term my friend Kitty made up about Steph's teacup exchange.

    God bless you and keep you and help aid you through anything you must endure.

    Hold fast to your faith. Praying for you.

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    1. Dear Michele! How precious your words of encouragement are to my heart tonight! THANK YOU for your dear visit and for lifting my spirits. I am so blessed to have "met" you, too, and it is just wonderful how God brings us together through dear Stephanie's mug exchange. I can't thank you enough for your prayers. God bless you!

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  2. Good morning Cheryl. I am ashamed that I haven’t answered your latest email. There have been some trials happening here, (that I haven’t mentioned on my blog.). With God's grace He will see us through as He always does. However, I do want you to know that I am faithfully praying for you and your family as you have so many things happening right now. Your post today touches me deep within. Thank you my sweet friend.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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    1. Oh, dear friend! Please don't feel badly at all about not being able to respond. I can barely keep my head above water right now, either. I don't know when I have felt so overwhelmed in my whole life. And, I am just SO sorry to know that you are also going through a dark time! You will never know how much we appreciate your prayers, and I want you to know that I am surely praying for you, too. Oh, how we need each others prayers in times like these! I do trust Jesus to lighten your load, to work out every problem you are facing, and to encourage and comfort your dear heart. Sending much love to you and many blessings!

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  3. Awe, that is good news on your BIL Cheryl. Such a sweet and endearing post to me to read today. Surrender....I surrender all. I say it at times, sing it a lot, and yet, I find myself going back to the flesh where I want my will and I would really like or so I think, that His will would match mine. Oh the times our Father has shown me to be so grateful that HIS WILL did not match mine! I just try to keep my eyes focused on Him and say, Lord, Your Will be done. Love you sweet lady. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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    1. Oh, how I appreciate you, dear friend! Your precious words are always so edifying and bring such a blessing to my soul. I can't thank you enough. PLEASE do keep LD in your prayers. He is not doing well at all, and we are just begging God for a miracle. I love and appreciate you so much! God bless you. :)

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  4. Thanks for the update on your brother in law. As always you have written truth piled upon truth which is why it goes deep. There is an area I don't want to surrender to the Lord but know I must for the sake of my walk with Him...thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you so much, dear Betty! I am most grateful for your kind words and encouragement. I emailed you at both email addresses with something the Lord placed on my heart. I am not sure if you stop back by here and read responses or if you are subscribed to get them, but just in case you do, if you could check your email, I would appreciate it so much. I hope you are feeling well. Sending much love to you, sweet sister. :)

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  5. What a beautifully written post, dear Cheryl, and yes, we are called to endure. I love that Our Father spoke those words to you! Thank you for the update on LD. You and your family will continue to be lifted up in prayers. Keep enduring, faithful servant!

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    1. Thank you so very, very much for your precious words, support, and prayers, sweet friend. You will never know how much we appreciate you. I am praying for you, too, and believing God to meet your every need. Sending love and hugs to you!

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  6. Encouraging about LD! You're so right, God is not limited and I stand believing for that miracle of healing with you. So sorry for this very trying time for your family. Talk about a squeeze, huh?
    I'm praying for all of you. I love your line: "Because He outlasted trials so can me and you." Surrendering and leaning on Jesus today for that strength! Big hugs, my friend.

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    1. A squeeze...whew, that is a good way to put it, sweet friend. The hurt and overwhelm in our lives right now is beyond belief. We lean hard upon God and trust Him, even when we can't see evidence that He is there. You will never know how much we appreciate and need your prayers. Please do keep praying for LD, as he is not doing well. I am praying for you, too, and am hoping you are feeling much better. Sending love and hugs to you tonight!

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  7. God Bless you and your family!

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    1. God bless you and your family, too, Michael! So thankful for your visit. :)

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  8. So glad to hear about LD. And yes, Lord, thy will be done <3

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet visit, Caroline. Please do keep LD in your prayers, as he is not doing well. God bless you!

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  9. Oh my, yes indeed. This is a difficult lesson to learn as we walk with the Lord. I've often asked Him why he chose to allow joy and sorrow to walk together in our lives. It seems the two are always intertwined. He gives grace, but that grace comes in the deep, dark hour of need. He gives great joy, but I've found it to be most appreciated after sorrow has visited. No, we can't fathom HIS ways, but if there is one thing I've learned about HIM, is that HIS way is always the best way, no matter how my flesh resists it. Submitting to His will ultimately brings about the best for my eternal soul, no matter how much my physical body may dislike it. Your words are wonderful dear friend! The Lord is working eternity out in your life, and His purpose is great and mighty, never doubt that! I continue to hold all of you in my prayers, so much hurt and suffering around us, so thankful we can look to the Lord in the midst of it all and trust HIS grace and provision for it all. You are always in my prayers dear friend!!!!!!

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    1. Your prayers just mean more than I could ever put into words, dear friend. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and may the dear Lord meet any needs you have, also. Sending lots of love and gratitude and hugs and blessings to you tonight!

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  10. It's amazing how encouraging someone can be when they're in the throes of endurance and perseverance. It helps to lift up all of us for out time in the Valley.

    Praying for you and yours, sister. Keep up the good race. When you're doing what you know you can't possible do on your own, we know our Father is carrying you.

    Great news for LD!!!! That's an answer to prayers! My continued prayers for him and his family as he continues to live out the witness God has called him to. What a special man.

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    1. Thank you so much, brother. You will never know how much we appreciate you and your words of encouragement and support. You are a tremendous blessing to us. May the dear Lord richly bless and reward you. Please do keep LD in your prayers, as he is not doing very well. We are SO thankful for all God has done and are looking unto Him for the miracle LD needs.

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  11. Dear Cheryl,
    Oh what precious truths you have shared here! I can so attest to that still, small voice sometimes coming in a shocking and firm way, just when I was wanting something sweet and soft. But oh, how much better are HIS ways than my own! Just today I heard Him asking something of me that I wanted to take up my own way. But thank the Lord, He helps us to surrender our own wills, and gives us Grace even there! You and your family continue to be in my prayers so much, dear friend! Love & Hugs to you!

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    1. Oh, how true are your precious words, sweet friend! Your prayers just mean so much to us, and I want you to know that I am praying for you, too. Sending much love and many hugs back to you!!

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  12. "Consecrate what I want on the altar of sacrifice to Him in total surrender to what He wants." This one touched my heart right now, I have always known to do this but for some reason it ministered to me in a different kind of way reading it here. Thanks a lot for sharing and checking on me.
    Praise God for the total recovery of your brother-in-law.

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    1. Thank you so much, dear sister. I am so grateful to you for your words. I have missed you and was so happy to see a post from you. So thankful this ministered to you tonight. And, I love the way you are praising God for LD's total recovery. By faith, and not by sight. Sending love to you across the miles!

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  13. PTL that LD is recovering. Continued prayers for his healing from lung cancer. -- Great thoughts on "endure." Thank you, Cheryl.

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    1. Thank you so much, Brenda. Your prayers just mean so much! God bless you for your kind words and support and prayers. I hope all is well with you and yours!

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  14. Thank you for the update on your brother-in-law. Praise the good Lord he is recovering. Indeed, a miracle from God. Please know that I will continue to cover him and your dear family in prayer.

    Much love to you, friend!

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    1. Oh, dear friend! Please do keep praying. He is through the crisis, but not doing well at all. We would so appreciate your continued prayers. Sending much love back to you today!

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