"Thy Will Not Mine"
April 26, 2014
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
It is the rare person who doesn't, at least once in his or her life, ask, "Where is God? Doesn't He care?"
Amazingly, both believers and unbelievers ask that kind of question. Of course, there are some differences, some major differences. Because he has already seen the commitment of Jesus Christ, the believer doesn't wonder if God wishes to be involved in his particular situation. Even though he may not understand the Lord's will or timetable, the believer has faith the Lord cares. Said another way, the believer's question would sound something like "Why hasn't the Lord revealed Himself in a way which I am able to understand?"
In contrast, when the unbeliever asks these questions, he is using those words to tell everyone that the Lord really doesn't care about him. His line of reasoning is
1. there is no God;
2. if there was a God, He would listen to me and instantly do what I want and when I wanted it;
3. since I'm not getting what I want, quite obviously there is no God.
All in all, the difference between the two is a simple one: in difficult situations the believer continues to acknowledge God's wisdom and control. His prayer is one which requests patience and the ability to say, "Thy will, not mine, be done" (see Luke 22:42). In the same difficult circumstance the unbeliever challenges God to prove him wrong by showing that He is willing to take orders from the skeptic who confesses he has no faith in the Lord.
Now I know that may sound a bit theoretical, so let's make it a lot practical. Turn to the Gospels and take a look at two stories from Jesus' life. The first is when He is with His disciples on the storm-tossed Sea of Galilee. In frustration, fear, and with a shaky faith, they come to Jesus saying something like, "Lord, if you cared about us You'd do something about this storm." That's when Jesus stood up and silenced both wind and wave with a word. At the same time, He rebuked His disciples for their lack of belief (see Mark 4:35-39).
The second instance of someone asking about Jesus caring is when He hung on the cross. There, one of the malefactors turned to Him and said, "If You really are the Christ -- something which I truly doubt -- then prove it by saving Yourself and us" (see Luke 23:39-43). You see, there was no burning flax of faith present in the man's words. They were just doubt and challenge. To that man Jesus says and does nothing.
So, my dear Daily Devotioners, I leave you with a story which may help you understand if the Lord cares.
The story begins with a man whose barn had been struck by lightning and was on fire. When the blaze was being battled, the farmer tried to call his insurance agent. When he got no answer, he started to express worry and frustration. Loud enough for others to hear, he asked, "Where is that insurance man when you need him?" At that moment, the volunteer fireman shouted above the noise, "I'm here putting out your fire."
That's the Lord. He may not be where we think He should be, and He may not be doing what we think He should be doing. But He's there, and He's acting, and He is doing the best by us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, when difficult times arise in my life, help me remember You are still there and You still care. Let me see that the love which sent Jesus to save me will also continue to take care of me. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries