May Your Will be Done!
James Smith, 1842
"May Your will be done!" Luke 11:2
The will of God is the great first cause of all things, and the highest rule of rectitude. Jehovah being Himself infinitely holy, just, and good--His will, however made known, must be the same. When He willed the universe into existence--it was holy and very good; and everything that comes immediately from that fountain must be so.
The will of God is the great source of existence; all things flow from it, and from it all things receive their nature, form, and place. "Our God is in the heavens, He has done whatever He has pleased." "He does according to His will, in Heaven, earth, and Hell! His counsel must stand, and He will do ALL His good pleasure!" "He works all things after the counsel of His own will." So speaks the Holy Spirit for our instruction, edification, and comfort.
The will of God, as it regards His beloved family--is just the will of everlasting love. He wills only their present benefit and endless welfare, in all His purposes respecting them, or dealings with them. However His dispensations may vary, His design is one and the same; and the whole of that design may be expressed in four words, "I will bless you!" Yes, this is the fixed determination of our God and Father, to bless His people consistently with His . . .
and solemn name.
He ever proceeds with this blessed purpose in view, so that the heaven-born family may ever sing, "All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies."
The same end is designed when He visits us with sore afflictions, heavy crosses, and distressing losses--as when He showers down His temporal favors in abundance, and the rock pours us out rivers of oil.
If we consider that the very nature of our God in Christ, is love; that His purposes are purposes of grace; that His dispensations are arranged and brought about by infinite wisdom, under the guidance of that love and grace; that He constantly breathes good will towards us--then how can we doubt but that He is aiming at our good, and seeking our profit in all that He accomplishes or permits?
And if we believe that He is seeking, in all things, our present and everlasting benefit--then surely it befits us to submit with readiness to all His dispensations; to receive with confidence all He sends; and to believe assuredly, however things may appear--that all is working for our good, and shall issue in His eternal praise.
This is the will of God, even our sanctification, that we should be separate from the world, and dedicated as vessels of mercy unto Himself. This He has commanded us to be, and this He is determined to effect. And in order to accomplish so high and holy a purpose, He sends . . .
His gospel to our ears,
His Spirit into our hearts, and
His bitter drugs into our cup.
His language in the gospel, and in the dispensations of His providence, is, "I will that those whom are given to Me, be with Me." And it is only as we are with Him in holy fellowship, by constant reference, and devout meditation--that we fulfill His precepts, or walk worthy the calling with which we are called.
Believers often pray, "Let Your will be done!" They are justified in so doing, if they consult their own welfare, or Jehovah's honor; but they little think at times, exactly what they are praying for. If this petition ascends from our hearts at certain times, we pray that our God would . . .
cross our wills,
frustrate our purposes,
hedge up our ways,
blight the blossoms of our hope,
give us wormwood instead of honey,
and gall instead of milk!
For it is very frequently the case, that our wills, being under a carnal bias--are directly opposed to the will of God. And we cannot in any measure be opposed to the will of our heavenly Father; but in that measure we are opposed to our own best interests. Let us seek to be conformed to the will of God; but let us expect, if our God condescends to answer our prayers--that He will try us, purge us, and empty us again and again; but He will never leave the furnace, or for one moment take off His eye from the poor sufferer within! He sympathizes with us in all He brings upon us, and is determined to deliver us the moment His end is answered in us. "I will bring the third part through the fire." He will not leave us in it; but, though the bush is enveloped in flame, not one branch shall be consumed.
We should constantly submit to the will of God:
1. His revealed will in His Word--calls for our faith and obedience.
2. His secret will, as developed by His providence and Spirit--calls for our submission and cheerful acquiescence.
We should form no plan, undertake no enterprise--but with reference to the will of God, "If the Lord wills--we shall live and do this or that." This would preserve us from perplexity and disappointment, and be a means of leading us more frequently to the throne of our beloved Lord. A God of love cannot will anything that can hurt His redeemed children. His promises given, His purposes passed, His thoughts, as made known in His word--assure us that all His will respecting us is gracious, kind, and merciful.
Nothing that happens to us, can possibly run counter to His word of grace, or frustrate the promises of His love. However His providence and promises may appear to oppose each other--they are in perfect agreement. And though we at present cannot see it, the period will arrive, when we shall admire the wisdom, and adore the grace--which we behold in the harmony that existed between the darkest providences and the brightest promises. Yes, we look forward to a period, when we shall cast an eye, cleansed from all film, and free from all detects--back on the way in which the Lord our God has led us; and shall see, however circuitous our route appeared, and however providences and promises once seemed to clash; that our road was right and straight, and that providences and promises were in union.
Lover of Jesus, the will of your God is the source of all your blessedness, and the fountain from whence flows all your mercies. You are not left in darkness, to inquire, "I wonder what is God's will respecting me? No, this is the will of God respecting you--that every good thing should be given you now, and everlasting felicity at your journey's end. You may be called to pass through fire and through water; your way may be hedged with thorns, and paved with flints; your enemies may be many, and your friends but few; your trials may be successive, and of long continuance; but all these are so many mercies--the very best things, if all be taken into the account, that your God could will, or send to you!
Poor doubting, fearing, disconsolate sinner--lift up your head while I tell you, or rather while Jesus tells you--the will of God concerning you. "This is the will of Him who sent me, that every one that discerns the Son, and believes on Him--may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day!" John 6:40. You have discerned that Jesus is the Son of God, "the altogether lovely one." He has become the object of your ardent desire and constant solicitation; you believe Him to be the Messiah, and that He is able to save to the uttermost; you are found often in secret by Him, calling upon Him, and pleading with Him. He has found you--though you have not yet to your satisfaction found Him. His will, and the will of His Father is, that you should have eternal life; and therefore, eternal life is yours!
Dear Lord, I cast on You my care,
For you have been my guide;
My sure resource in time of fear,
When all has failed beside.
Your promise often yields me joy,
And I your promise know;
But still there's something will annoy,
And tarnish all below.
Yet every cross a mercy is,
A blessing every thorn--
That tells me, here is not my bliss--
I am for nobler born!
Your mercy sweetens my distress;
And, while I feel the rod,
Gives me abundant cause to bless
An ALL-SUFFICIENT GOD!