What did Jesus mean when He said, “… Not as I will, but as You will”?
Well, in Matthew 26:39, Mark 14:35-36, and Luke 22:42, they all center on Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane asking God the Father to take the “cup” (the approaching separation from God) from Him, but acknowledged that it wasn’t by His will, but by God’s Will that the approaching separation and taking on the sin of the world be done. But, what does Jesus’s declaration of trust in God say about our own? In the Message Bible, Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and acknowledge God because He will direct our path.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (Message Bible)
“5. Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. 6. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.”
God wants us to trust Him wholeheartedly and that we listen to His voice for direction in our lives; even if we don’t know the whole picture. This passage of scripture is a constant struggle for me because there are times where I put my trust in Him and other times when I don’t; because I feel that during the situation that God won’t do what He said He would do.
A great example of trust in the Bible comes from the story of Joseph, a son of Jacob who was sold into slavery by his brothers and later became the overseer of Potiphar’s house. We see in Genesis 37:4 and Genesis 37:11 that Joseph’s brothers envied and hated him because Joseph was their father’s favorite and because Joseph’s dreams depicted that he would reign above his brothers.
“4. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.”
“11. And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind.”
The brothers increasing hatred and jealousy towards Joseph caused them to contemplate murdering Joseph due to their fear of his dreams coming true (see Genesis 37:5-10) and possibly their father’s favoritism towards Joseph. Instead, the brothers decide to sell him into slavery to Ishmaelites for money as stated in Genesis 37:27 “27. Come and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites…”
This display of betrayal by Joseph’s brothers is similar to the disciples’ betrayal of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. We later see in the story of Joseph of him wrongly being thrown into prison for a crime that he didn’t commit, but we are later shown that Joseph; through God rose to become the overseer of Potiphar’s house and second-in-command of Egypt as seen in Genesis 41:40-41, “40. …. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word… 41. … See, I have set o over all the land of Egypt.”
Joseph’s sudden rise to prominence in Egypt; having been sold into slavery by his brothers shows that even when we are at our lowest, God still has a plan in motion for our lives even if we don’t fully understand it. When Joseph’s brothers found out that Joseph in fact survived and became a high-ranking official in Egypt; Joseph said this statement in Genesis 50:20 that shows us how even when people or situations seem to be conspiring against us, God has a way of turning the situation into a blessing. Genesis 50:20 says, “But as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…”
In the animated movie, Joseph: King of Dreams (inspired by the Biblical story of Joseph) when Joseph is in prison; He sings a song entitled, “You Know Better Than I” which, in my opinion, is trying to tell us that despite what we may be going through, God knows what’s best and the outcome of the trial you may or are going through. The chorus of the song is where it talks about trusting God.
“For you know better than I.
You know the way
I’ve let go of the need to know why
For you know better than I”
The chorus of the song is such a powerful and wonderful reminder that Proverbs 3:5-6 is right and that God is always there with us. We are told to trust in the Lord with our whole heart and not try to understand God’s Plan with our limited understanding, but in everything we do and God will help direct our path. Dena Johnson, founder of Dena Johnson Ministries wrote a devotional on Crosswalk.com entitled, “How Faith Leads to Trust” where she talks about how she had lost her faith and that she came to realize that God always has a plan in motion.
In the devotional, she said, “He continues to remind me that when I can’t see his hand, I can still trust his heart” and this quote should be a reminder to people and Christians that even when we can’t see the whole picture, we should trust God and know that He has our best interests at the center of His heart.
Dena Johnson said “I am reminded that God always has a purpose in the pain. No trial is wasted, and if we cooperate with God, trials always produce fruit.”
Also, in the article are some key points that I feel we all should learn to use when we feel that we don’t understand why we are going through a situation or storm in our life.
- “… life is out of my control—but it certainly isn’t out of his control.”
- “… this momentary trial—as difficult and painful as it may be right now—is actually a set up. God is setting the stage to step in and show himself mighty in my life.”
- “… develop not only faith—but also a trust in him even when life simply doesn’t make sense.”
Jesus said in John 14:9, “… He who has seen Me has seen the Father” and to me, I feel that Jesus isn’t just talking about the spiritual aspects of God but the characteristics and attributes that Jesus portrayed and the ones we should yearn to emulate. Jesus embodied love, compassion, forgiveness, trust, and understanding towards others and we as people and Christians should do the same. We, as Christians should learn to put our trust in God for everything that seems out of our control.
I recently listened to a song by Hillary Scott called “Thy Will” where she sings about not understanding God’s Plan but going forth with God even when she is confused. The first lines of the song are what we, as people and Christians should do when we don’t understand God’s plan for our life.
“I’m so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow, I ended up here”
The lyrics to the song are in my opinion, a song of inspiration and a song of trust to God when we can’t see the end of our struggle. Blogger Barbara wrote a blog post entitled, “MOVE YOUR MOUNTAIN” where she talks about how she asked God to remove a particular ‘mountain’ from her life and His reply was different from what she expected.
In the blog post, Barbara said, “It would be easy to cower in fear or lay down in despair, but Jesus invites us to participate with him in a powerful way. He says, “you do what you can do, that is, believe in Me, and I’ll do the rest.” This statement, in my opinion, shows us that Jesus wants us to come to Him when we are fearful and know that what we can’t do; we have to trust God and know that He can do more than we could ever imagine.
Blogger Jesus is a Safe Haven wrote a blog post entitled, “Not my will Lord, but Your will be Done!” where she talks about being obedient to God and that we as people and Christians should learn to model our behavior after Christ. In the blog post, she said, “… in all of our prayers we should always remember that God’s will, must always come before our will.” When we submit to God’s will for our life instead of figuring it out or going in a different direction, we will have all of the promises that God will give to us, but if we don’t submit to God; we won’t inherit the promises He has in store for us.
Jesus is a Safe Haven said, “Obedience is not the absence of doubt or fear. It is an act of faith and trust.”
Jesus’s obedience to God’s will for the future of humanity shows when he wanted to the cup of suffering to pass by Him, but He ultimately submitted to the Father. Jesus’s display of obedience, submission, and trust in God is a perfect example of how we as Christians and people should live our lives because it is only through obedience and submission to God that we will prosper in our lives.
Dena Johnson’s devotional has several key points that I think all of us, whether Christian or not should learn to take to heart because it is only through trusting in God’s plan for our life that we will have the “keys” to the promises God has for our life.
- “Faith is a strong belief in someone or something without logical proof. But, trust is a firm reliance on the character or integrity of another.”
- “To fully trust God with all my heart, I have to be willing to lean into him when life no longer makes sense.”
- “… I have to be willing to trust him when life is spiraling out of control, when everything of value has been stripped away.”
- “I have to learn to trust that God is still able when I am not. I have to trust that every single pain and trial becomes a holy hammer to mold me into his image.”
- “… isn’t it better to trust our lives to the One who can see the finished picture?”
In the end, though, when we learn to surrender unto God our pain and grief; we have to realize that even though we may not see the whole picture, we have to trust God to know that He has a greater plan in store when we go through the trials of this life.
So, what will you do? Will you continue to go about life the way you feel you should go? Or, will you turn to God when the road you are on doesn’t seem to be the right one? Or, will you will look to God first and trust in His plan for your life and know that He has a purpose in store for you; even when it seems that you are constantly at war with your life. The next time you feel that you don’t want to trust God because of a situation or obstacle in your life, just turn to God and say, “Not my will, but Your Will be Done.” Have you not trusted God and His Word because you felt that your way was better than the way He was providing? Please comment below and join the discussion.
Barbara. “MOVE YOUR MOUNTAIN” theedgesofhisways.com, 10 May 2017. https://theedgesofhisways.com/2017/05/10/move-your-mountain/ . Accessed 13 August 2017.
“Hillary Scott & The Scott Family – Thy Will”. YouTube, uploaded by HillaryScottVEVO, 1 year ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dp4WC_YZAuw . Accessed 10 August 2017.
Jesus is a Safe Haven. “Not my will Lord, but Your will be Done!” 12 Jan. 2017, https://1safeharborisjesus.wordpress.com/ , https://1safeharborisjesus.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/not-my-will-lord-but-your-will-be-done/ . Accessed 11 August 2017
Johnson, Dena. “How Faith Leads to Trust” Crosswalk.com, http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/how-faith-leads-to-trust.html . Accessed 13 August 2017.
“You Know Better Than I (Joseph The Dreamer’s Song)”. YouTube, uploaded by Ellie Tan, 3 years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3LndEB-Drc . Accessed 11 August 2017.
Author Unknown. “Matthew 26:39 – Not as I wilt, but as you will” http://ldssotd.com/matthew-26-39/ . Accessed 12 August 2017.
Author Unknown. “Joseph – Bible Explanation” http://ubdavid.org/bible/characters1/characters1-6.html . Accessed 11 August 11 2017.
Author Unknown. “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future” http://archive.feedblitz.com/491562/~4161219/26687878/b1fc5dda12e06dc9d3af04aaaa1e9384 . Accessed 10 August 2017.
Author Unknown. “Joseph thrown into a pit” http://bibleencyclopedia.com/pictures/Genesis_37_Joseph_thrown_into_pit.htm l. Accessed 14 August 2017.
Willis, Dave. “Faith isn’t a feeling. It’s a choice to trust God” http://sixseeds.patheos.com/davewillis/4-keys-to-overcoming-fear/ . Accessed 13 August 2017.