Learn - Not My Will
Learn – Not My Will
He knelt down and began to pray, saying, "Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done." NASU
Why can’t we have our way? After all, we work hard and deserve it. It would seem like we especially deserve it if we have been working hard serving God. Yet, we look at the greatest Servant, waiting for the cross and begging for another alternative. We see Him end His pleading prayer by saying, “Not my will but yours be done.” We watch Him walk bravely to the cross, suffer terrible pain, and never lose His sense of mission. By watching Him, we learn how to accept the seemingly unacceptable.
I must admit to walking into the television studio self-absorbed. Traffic was bad and I barely made it in time. I was about to be interviewed for two different television shows and had butterflies. I had carefully prepared by getting up early that morning to begin my day with prayer, meditation, and Bible Study. I had chosen two different outfits and loaded them into Halleluiah. My carefully applied television makeup seemed fine but I still wondered if I looked OK.
I was also exhausted. Bob and I had spent 3 long days driving the 32 hours from Phoenix, Arizona to Jacksonville, Florida. We had arrived in Jacksonville on Tuesday, July 3rd, at 4:30 AM and collapsed into bed to sleep until noon. At noon, we got up to begin preparations for the family 4th of July celebration, which was to be held the next day at our beach condominium. Then, our guests had stayed late Wednesday night for the beach’s fireworks. On Thursday, Bob and I woke early to drive the 4 hours to Largo, Florida for the filming of the Christian television shows. I have to admit that when I walked into the studio, I was the only person I had on my mind.
The host smiled as she greeted me at the door of the studio. As I shook her hand, I instantly spotted what I call the ICU waiting room look. I’m sure you’d recognize it too. It is the look of exhaustion and despair of someone whose life circumstances had landed them in the ICU waiting room for days or even weeks. It is the look of stress, sadness, and despair. If you’ve never had the ICU waiting room look, unfortunately, your turn will come if you live long enough.
This beautiful but sad Christian woman, dutifully serving God in the television studio, was wearing a crisp black pantsuit and a pink blouse. Her heavy television makeup framed perfectly styled blond hair. Her grief was so fresh that all I had to ask was how she was and her story flowed. Since January, her mother, boyfriend, and brother-in-law had died. “My brother-in-law was the hardest because it was so unexpected,” she hoarsely whispered.
“I’m so sorry,” I said as I put my arm around her. “Life can be so hard. One day, we will be where there will be no more tears.”
“My life has been hard a long time,” she said. “My husband was the preacher of a large successful church but he committed suicide several years back.”
“The ministry can be hard and discouraging,” I said, touching her again.
She continued. “My daughter had cancer and my son had a kidney transplant. His wife donated the kidney so we had two patients. We were so blessed that her kidney was a match. Praise God, they are all doing fine now.”
“How do you keep going,” I asked.
“I just have to trust God and turn to Him when I get too discouraged. What I’ve been through often helps others.” She hosts Christian television and has an active speaking and singing ministry. Throughout the last several months of recent trauma, she has continued to serve God faithfully.
We walked into the set and when she began the interview, she came to life. She asked questions, carefully leading me to share my testimony with her audience. She had read my books and prepared for the interviews. Her questions were carefully designed to encourage and teach others how to learn to depend on God. Perhaps the reason she knew what questions to ask was that she had learned from Jesus, how to suffer and continue to serve. (For pictures, go to the Photo Gallery and look at the file called Florida – Largo – Home Keepers TV Show)
We may not like the fact that life on earth is difficult but at least the Bible warns us. The book of Job, the Psalms of David, and the difficulties the disciples faced in the New Testament attest to the fact that good people don’t always get their way. I left that television studio feeling like I had met a modern day Job and that like Job, she had learned and grown through her experiences.
I also left inspired by the woman’s faith and wondering if she had ever begged God to let this cup pass from her. I could tell by her countenance and testimony that she had whispered through her tears, “Not my will but yours.” I left praising God instead of thinking about myself.