May Your Will Be Done!
By Henry Alford
"May Your will be done" Matthew 6:10
We suppose, when we daily pray, "May Your will be done," that we mean, "Here I am, dispose of me as You will." And doubtless such a general feeling is a good and beneficial one, an excellent introduction to our daily duties and trials. It may be well, however, to put it sometimes more to the test, and question it somewhat more closely than Christians usually do.
Have we reflected, when we thus say, that our Heavenly Father's will evidently is, that we should become perfect, as our Savior did, through suffering? Have we made our account, that health and strength, fortune and friends, are all in His hand, suspended in the balance with our eternal welfare? that our Father's care over us is such, that if one of them is seen by Him to outweigh and interfere with our soul's health — that He will surely interpose and take it from us? Have we borne in mind that the very day in whose opening hour we kneel in our closets and say, "May Your will be done," may see our whole life's bitterest and dreariest passage — may behold us stricken down by our Father's judgment — may make the strong man a miserable wreck, the rich man a poor bankrupt, the social man a solitary man in the world's wilderness?
Do those whose souls are knit in one by love's closest tie of God's own sanctioning, reflect, when they say these words together in the morning — that one may be taken before the evening, and the other left — to try how deep the resignation to God's will really was? Does it ever cross the mother's mind, as she teaches the blessed prayer to her babe, fresh risen and bright in the morning — that, before night, His will may indeed be done in the death of her babe?
Far be it from me to dash or embitter the heart's joys, pure and holy like these. But, brethren, such thoughts as these will not dash nor embitter joy. Then it is embittered, when the soul has made her nest and her home here below, has gazed on her beloved object insatiably, and never thought of God — has used the world as if she possessed it — and some hour when all is fair and serene, in the midst of much treasure laid up for many years — comes the fatal stroke, unlooked for, unaccountable, irremediable!
One such record I have seen engraved on the tomb of a beloved child: "The miserable parents ventured their all on this frail bark, and the wreck was total." This is bitterness indeed — but to see all our comforts coming day by day from God's hand — to live in the continual consciousness that He who today tries our gratitude by giving them — may tomorrow try our faith by withdrawing them — this is not to poison joy — but to enhance it tenfold — it is not to blight the fair plant — but to give it strength and endurance, so that it shall flourish not only in the sunshine — but in the storm; not only in the morn and promise of life — but amidst disappointment and decay and death.
"May Your will be done!" And what if His will is not only afflictive — but dark and mysterious also? What if God is pleased to wound — just where we believed we needed nourishing? What if to the weak and shortsighted eye of sense — He even seem as a tyrant, delighting in doing us harm, striking us when we are down, yes, forgetting His own promises and breaking His everlasting covenant?
Brethren, I know how hard it is in such cases to feel from the heart this prayer — how the words seem almost to choke us in utterance, and the petition to be more than we ever can really attain to. But let us not, for all that, relinquish our trust in our Father's love and care of us. What He does — we often do not understand now; but we shall know hereafter.
Rest in the Lord, and He shall make it plain. It is good to wait; it lifts men above the world and out of themselves, and they grow in the knowledge of their Father and God, and in ripeness for the day when He shall be revealed. "May Your will be done!"