ARLetters from Mom: Encouragement to Accept God's WillAs her child leaves for the "next phase" of her life's journey, a mother implants the words of a beloved hymn. How do you learn to say, in any circumstance, "My Lord, Thy will be done"?Hymns of praise come to mind as a mother gives advice to a parting student. This parent gives a reminder that whatever happens, everything is in God's hands and we should abide by His will. The hymn, "My Jesus, As Thou Wilt" beautifully resounds that through it all, He is there and will prevail.
If there's a
hymn that you'll choose to hide in your heart as you begin the next phase
of your life's journey, then I hope you will pick "My Jesus, As Thou
This hymn is
a prayer from the heart of an eighteenth-century pastor who was restricted
by the church-state to attend to the believers’ needs in the best way he
knew how. Despite these difficult circumstances, Benjamin Schmolck gave of
his best to the flock, praying and singing, as he went about his life's
work, that the Lord's will may prevail.
of our Lord's ministry, doesn't it? When Jesus stepped forward to fulfill
His life's purpose, His teachings shook up a society that had lived and
died according to what the Pharisees-a select group of Jewish
people-determined was acceptable or not. Because they had learned from the
bitter history of previous generations that had turned away from God, this
group of Jews wanted to get it right for themselves and for future
generations. Unfortunately, by tagging new rules and regulations onto the
Law that God had given to Moses in the days of the Exodus, they were
trying too hard. Anyway, being so fiercely devoted, the Pharisees abhorred
Jesus and His teachings. In their eyes, Jesus was only a carpenter, a mere
tradesman who made and repaired ordinary implements for everyday use. As
far as the Pharisees could see, Jesus was breaking every rule in the book.
The man even claimed to be the Son of God! From this background, the
Pharisees, as a group, watched Jesus and waited for the opportunity to rid
Him from their society.
To say that
the Pharisees gave Jesus a hard time is an understatement. Nevertheless,
our Lord stayed focused and motivated. He understood that God's will must
prevail at all times. He never forgot that He had been ordained to live
and die to atone for the sins of the world, so that every person will have
access to eternal life. Jesus also never forgot that, in the short time He
had to preach and to teach, He had come to show by His example that the
correct way to worship God was to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
also makes me think of Paul. You remember Paul, don't you? He was also a
Pharisee, a teacher of the Law. The Bible introduces him in that scene
where he was watching the stoning of a Christian named Stephen. You could
tell that Paul would have none of this teaching that contradicted his!
occurred after the Pharisees had seen their wish come true and Jesus had
been crucified. But what they did not know was that eliminating Jesus from
Palestine would in no way create the perfect Jewish society of their
dreams. If anything, their plans backfired because after Jesus died and
was buried, He resurrected from the dead, just as He had said He would.
Thereafter, for about forty days, He appeared to His disciples. Then,
after He had returned to heaven and the Holy Spirit came on the
disciple-as Jesus had promise-even more people converted to Christianity.
Paul did not
like what he saw: a chosen people were turning their backs on the God of
their forefathers! In his zeal, Paul set out to save his people from their
folly. When Christians fled the country, he went after them.
But one day
on the road, a bright light suddenly shone from heaven. In an instant,
Paul was on the ground. Then he heard our Lord call out to him.
You know the
rest of the story. What this hymn reminds me today is that when Paul
finally understood God's will for him, he took that zeal which God had
endowed him with and put it to good use for our Lord. Turning his back on
a life of power and prestige, Paul dedicated the rest of his life to our
Lord and became the apostle to the Gentiles. Traveling the known world
outside of Palestine at that time, Paul preached that nothing and no one
could save a person, except his or her faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of
God, who had lived and died for the sins of every man, woman, and child.
the book of Acts and Paul's epistles testify, there is more to his
ministry than what I can fit into this letter. But even though the money
was not there, the hours were long and erratic, working conditions were
dangerous, and Paul never really knew whether he would be warm and full
one day or cold and hungry the next, this apostle stayed focused and
motivated right up to the moment when he was executed by the authorities.
The cost of
obeying God's will is high. Though but a young person, you know this to be
true. You will also find this to be true when you step into the future. I
know that you are aware of this because you have already read in the
gospels that the world will hate Christians on account of their faith in
Jesus Christ. Paul, too, had written of terrible times that shall come in
the last days.
I want you to remember that Jesus had warned that when those times come,
many Christians will turn their backs on Him and walk away with the
intention of saving their own lives. But then again, I know you have
already read that this is not a strategy our Lord recommends. In fact, He
recommends the opposite—that when terrible times come, you remain faithful
and He shall help you defend your faith.
That is why I
hope you'll hide this hymn in your heart. Where you are going, there will
be joy and sorrow. In this mix, you will find tears and laughter. But be
it one or the other, I hope you'll know to always prayerfully sing,
"My Lord, Thy will be done."
Written as a mother
would her child, "Letters from Mom" addresses the struggles of
our young people as they step toward the threshold of adulthood. This
column hopes to encourage, comfort, and urge the youth to continue living
as children of God. Please send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.