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Subway Vision

Aug 23, 2015 03:07AM ● Published by Bonnie Lyn Smith

Recently, I was sitting on the Boston T staring at the feet of many people. Wow, her toenails need painting, just like mine. Cool wedges…wonder where she got them? He is dressed to the nines. I wonder what he does? Does he like himself at the end of the day? Oh my, that child needs a new pair of sneakers for school; I hope his family can manage that.

I’ll admit I wasn’t looking at the whole person. I just was gazing at feet. I wasn’t trying to make assumptions. As a writer, I visually see things and then have a nonstop ongoing dialogue with myself in my head.

I also receive snippets from God throughout the week as to what to write about, and “subway” came through crystal clear.

The next day, at the suggestion of a sweet mentor, I was listing so many questions I have for God. I truly have more questions than answers. I don’t imagine He was exhausted from my list, but I sure was. And then an area I had been praying about for a while came into focus on a day when I was troubled that my father was so knocked down by chemo that he couldn’t continue the treatments that week.

I was so scared to carry out the actions I felt God was telling me to take with regard to another person. It was an area of constant rejection and pain. Am I tough enough for the response, God? Maybe we should try this at another time? 

And there it was, plain as day:

Thy will be done.”

This little phrase may seem trite on the days we least understand it. What now? Just hand it over to God and walk off, hands free and clear of a burden, and trust the result?

Yeah, I’m not really good at that.

But on the days when I cannot see an answer and know no other utterance of prayerful speak, I mumble out: “Thy will be done.” 

Jesus taught the disciples to pray by offering the Lord’s Prayer. He showed them how to talk to God! My husband and I really enjoyed exploring this in great depth over an entire school year with our Junior High Sunday School class. Learning how Jesus modeled prayer throughout the Bible is a remarkable tool!

Matthew 6:9-13, KJV, Jesus speaking

After this manner therefore pray ye:

"Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

Even so, I can sometimes only get that one line out.

“Thy will be done.”

And it’s sobering when I really meditate on it because it doesn’t mean I shrug my shoulders and walk off. It doesn’t mean we shirk our own responsibilities.

It really means: “Bring about Your purposes, Lord, on earth like You do in heaven.” God doesn’t need permission, but He does want invitation and communication.

It’s our way of letting Him know: “I yield to what You want even if it ends up different from what I ultimately hope for.”

Back to the subway: I was on my way to see someone I knew who needed comfort and strength, but I didn’t know why. God had prepared me a little with some ideas of what I’d be facing, but I didn’t have His eyes on what was ahead of me. I didn’t have a script downloaded to my brain. I simply had this:

“Thy will be done.” 

It was my way of saying to God: “I know You’re with me. I know You will tell me what to say. I know You’re along for this ride—and every ride, really.”

He gave me more than what I needed that evening. I knew He was with us.

The day my father went in for chemo, my prayer wasn’t that he’d carry through with the treatment that day. I knew that probably wasn’t wise, but it also wasn’t my call. I don’t live there, and I wasn’t at the appointment. All I could do was slip my hand into my Savior’s and repeat:

“Thy will be done.”

Sad as I was to delay killing off cancer cells, I was so grateful my father could rest. I was also so thankful I didn’t have to make that decision. God imparted His wisdom to the oncologists. He intervened.

I think the key to why “Thy will be done” is so powerful is because of the phrase following it: “in earth as it is in heaven.”

Can you do that? Line up heaven and earth?

No, me either.

But I do want more of what He has in His perfect peace. I want more of heaven. As long as I continue to live on imperfect earth, asking God for more of what He has sounds like a good deal to me.

The situation where I needed to reach out to someone in love, regardless of response? It didn’t go the way I had imagined it, but I took a step forward in doing what I felt God wanted me to do. The other person’s actions/reactions aren’t up to me. I can rest in:

Thy will be done.”

He has the rest covered. Phew! And that story is not over yet, anyway. He has more to write. 

What follows the “in earth as it is in heaven” bit is: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

Notice that? After we trust in His will, we ask for provision. And He offers it. We can walk in constant conversation, He is always listening, and He will give us what we need when we need it.

One of the best things about “Thy will be done” isn’t so much that we don’t have to think or that we stop our concerns. It’s that...

...it takes the anxiety out of the results.

We’ve prayed. He’s heard us. Wherever it goes from there, all we know is we’ve asked for His will to be done as it is in heaven.

We are like passengers on the subway. We can’t see the ground above us. But God can. He has answers waiting for us when we come above ground again.

Where do you need the rest offered in “Thy will be done” today?

Will you take it?


Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about parenting, marriage, mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, the healing cloak of Jesus, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.

Her book, Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day, offers anecdotes on all of these subjects and Scripture for each situation as well as Book Discussion Questions for deeper exploration.

 

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