“Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best; God finds it hard to give, because He would give the best, and man will not take it.” – George MacDonald
Do you ever struggle with — or, in my case, revolt against — what you perceive to be God’s will, way and workings in your life?
In my prayer life, I’ve often been bold and brash, border-lining on blasphemy when I talk to God. I have teetered on the threshold of irreverence in my conversations with Him.
While many a more pious person or wiser worshipper would humbly say, “Lord, I don’t like this… Father, I don’t know what you are doing…” I have straight up told the Lord — this omniscient and omnipotent deity, the immortal, invisible God only wise — that His plan for my life “sucks.”
Yes, I’ve actually told Jesus that His plan for my life sucks.
In fact, I’ve been tempted to tell Him that He sucks, but whatever residual shred of wisdom that I possess clamps my mouth shut, bridles my tongue and reminds me that I am not merely talking to a peer but rather the Ruler of the universe — the One who breathed pneuma-life into my being, and the One who could just as easily snuff me out at whim.
To be quite frank and honest, at the heart of it is a power struggle to have my will done on earth as opposed to have His will done on earth as it is in heaven. It’s a power struggle not unlike the struggle between Lucifer and God, one in which I want to be like the Most High (Isaiah 14:12-14) by controlling my life. It’s a power struggle in which I want to be the Lord of my life. After all, many of us want Jesus as Savior but not as Lord.
Ultimately we don’t want the best. We want what we want, thinking that what we want is what is best for us, but it often isn’t. God wants to give us the best and more — eternal life. We come to Him wanting a, b, and c fixed, and only a, b and c, and he, like a dentist, sees that yes, perhaps a, b, and c need some tending to, but while He’s at it, He wants to fix the whole alphabet of our problems.
In Mere Christianity, page 202, C.S. Lewis says:
“Our Lord is like the dentists. If you give Him an inch, He will take an ell. Dozens of people go to Him to be cured of some one particular sin which they are ashamed of […] or which is obviously spoiling daily life […]. Well, He will cure it all right: but He will not stop there. That may be all you asked; but if once you call Him in, He will give you the full treatment.
[…] ‘Make no mistake,’ He says, ‘if you let me, I will make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in My hands, that is what you are in for. Nothing less, or other, than that. You have free will, and if you choose, you can push Me away. But if you do not push Me away, understand that I am going to see this job through. Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life, whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after death, whatever it costs Me, I will never rest, nor let you rest, until you are literally perfect— until my Father can say without reservation that He is well pleased with you, as He said He was well pleased with me. This I can do and will do. But I will not do anything less.’”
On page 96 of Steps to Christ, Ellen G. White says:
“We are so erring and short-sighted that we sometimes ask for things that would not be a blessing to us, and our heavenly Father in love answers our prayers by giving us that which will be for our highest good—that which we ourselves would desire if with vision divinely enlightened we could see all things as they really are. When our prayers seem not to be answered, we are to cling to the promise; for the time of answering will surely come, and we shall receive the blessing we need most. But to claim that prayer will always be answered in the very way and for the particular thing that we desire, is presumption. God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly. Then do not fear to trust Him, even though you do not see the immediate answer to your prayers. Rely upon His sure promise, “Ask, and it shall be given you.”
I often wonder what it would be like to be with Jesus and see things from His point of view as together we watch a miniature Simone (“Mini Me”) in her day to day routine. I imagine an outer body experience wherein Jesus and I would look at and discuss what happened and is happening in the life of Simone Samuels from an outside perspective. I imagine us having exchanges as we watch “Mini Me” along the journey of her life, much like two friends at a movie screening would talk about what’s happening as the story plot unfolds.
And I could completely imagine telling Him: “I wouldn’t have made her go through all that just to be ‘refined.’ I would have done this differently. She should have met her husband at this point in time and gotten married at this time and done this other project and lived in this other place or had this other job instead. She really could have avoided this, this, that and the other. She could have done without the scenic route and the detours. You made her stay much too long in some seasons and not long enough in others. Her life is much harder than it needs to be. Your plan sucks. I would have had a completely different plan. This is not the path I would have chosen for her. I really would have led her differently.”
And if He replies at all (because, truth be told, He need not reply), then I could imagine Jesus turning to me and, with eyes of softness, sagaciousness and certainty saying, “I know. But you don’t love her as much as I do.”
I don’t love myself as much as God loves me. I don’t love myself enough to want the best – God’s best – for me. If I loved me the way He loves me, then I would want God’s best for me.
I want good. I want better. God is trying to give me the best. I pray for the wisdom and trust to accept it with open hands and an open heart.