“Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven” – everyday, perhaps several times every day, we say these simple yet powerful words. When we pray the Lord’s prayer, do we understand how much impact these strings of words are? Or are we simply saying it out of habit? Specifically, in this extract, are we really asking for His will to be done? When we pray, we are essentially asking for the most perfect will. And Christ returns the favour by reassuring us that His will shall be done “…on Earth as it is in Heaven.” We know Heaven is the depiction of perfection and therefore His will can only be of goodness and perfection. If it is anything other than good and perfect, then it was not God’s will. This is crucial to remember as more often than not, when things go south we tend to doubt God. Our gracious and merciful God is so modest, in that He has allowed us to have free will but unfortunately, sometimes the will of man prevails.
It was the will of God to create the Heavens, the Earth and all that dwells in them. God prepared a place for man and provided everything before mankind was even created. It was then God’s will to create man in His likeness and His image. God is so generous – just from looking at the story of creation we can see He wants to give us everything. But we must also give Him something in return, for the sake of our salvation. These are obedience and submission. We need to submit every struggle, every desire, every situation at the feet of our Lord. And be obedient to accept the final outcome. We must place our lives into His hands and take the backseat. We must consciously surrender our free will to the will of God; to “let go and let God”. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7-8:
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
However, in conjunction with submission and obedience, our Lord tells us to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added onto you.” He knows about our worldly dilemmas. He knows about the struggles we face at uni or work, in our relationships or with our faith. But if we want His will to be done “on Earth as it is in Heaven”, then we must first seek Heaven.
I had the pleasure of accompanying St Abanoub’s Youth to Egypt and Jerusalem earlier this year. Not only did I get to befriend some amazing youth and Priests from this trip, I also saw the will of God firsthand. It was good and perfect, despite my limited understanding at the time and questioned why He allowed things to happen for so long. He gave me my answer, everything just clicked and He placed me exactly where I was meant to be. It was truly His will…and it was good and perfect.
When you go to the Holy Land, people tend to ask “what was the best part?” The number of things we did on this trip was truly a blessing from God (and the hard work of Abouna Feltaos), making my list never-ending. But personally, my top 3 were Christ’s tomb (of course), Calvary (Golgotha) and the Garden of Gethsemane. In the Garden of Gethsemane, our Lord was anticipating the most horrific act of crucifixion. Let me paint the beautiful yet sad picture of what Jesus was dealing with before He died for us. Jesus was not an ignorant man: He knew what was to come with crucifixion. Our Lord was anticipating the beatings, having nails driven through His wrists and feet and even feeling forsaken by His Father. He fell on His face in the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed, saying, “Oh My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39) Even until the very last moments, Jesus pleads for this “cup” (being the wrath of God as referenced throughout the Old Testament) to pass Him. He begs His Father, if it is possible, please, take this away from Me. But then Jesus SHOWS us what it’s like to submit and be obedient by concluding His concerns with “not as I will, but as You will.” As we strive to imitate Jesus, we must learn to surrender everything, EMBRACE God’s will and submit ourselves to the building of God’s Kingdom.
Ultimately, Gods will for humanity is salvation. As perfectly articulated by St. Ieronymos of Aegina:
“Let us entrust our life to God, and may it be done as He wishes. Whatever the outcome may be for us, that’s the one that is good for our good. For God does not want the perdition of man, but his salvation.”
His will is simple, to take us from this world and into the Kingdom He has prepared for us. As a means to get there, we must be obedient, surrender and submit everything at the feet of our Lord and most importantly seek Heaven, then we will see God’s will in all its wonders. And if that’s not motivating enough, we are told in Mark 3:35, “For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother” and we are given the opportunity to be called Christ’s family, the most humbling privilege we could ever receive!
There are little activities to do when you to keep yourself in check when things are out of your hands:
- Be joyful – despite the trials and tribulations you may be going through, be joyful in that it will not stay that way. The very cliché saying ‘Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end’ actually holds some truth to it.
- Continually pray – speak to Him, tell Him what worries you. Keep coming to God in prayer no matter how much it hurts!
- And most importantly, continually give thanks – if the story of Job doesn’t convince you, then I don’t know what will. Job never lost his faith in God, even under the most heartbreaking circumstances that tested him to his core. And as a result, God willing one day, we can also say “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:5).
If you ever feel like you’re struggling with the concept of God’s will versus your will, read Matthew 26:39 and pray the following passage which is placed on a sign in the Garden of Gethsemane. It will aid with anything you’re facing, I promise:
“O Jesus, in deepest night and agony, You spoke these words of trust and surrender to God the Father in Gethsemane. In love and gratitude, I want to say in times of fear and distress, My Father, I do not understand You, but I trust You.”
SAYG ~ Jostina Kolta.