Then Job answered the Lord and said:
“I know that You can do all things,
and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:1-2)
When was the last time you wanted something really, really badly? I’m not just talking about a cute outfit you’ve been admiring online, or an extra helping of your favorite dessert. I mean something truly significant: for your friend to forgive you when you were insensitive, or for your grandfather to recover from his stroke, or (close to my Mama’s heart) for the baby to just go to sleep so you can perhaps feel slightly more like a human being again.
Now . . . when was the last time you wanted something really, really badly that God wants? When did you last seek His will with the same intensity and determination as you pursued your own desires?
In today’s first reading, Job has been through the wringer, man. He lost everything he holds dear, including material goods, and family members. Even his wife encourages him to just give up—to “curse God and die.” So Job, worn down by his unending trials, questions God. And God responds. And Job listens. Finally, Job addresses the Lord: “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.”
Despite all his experiences of profound struggle, pain, and devastation, Job does not ultimately despair; he admits and proclaims that God is sovereign—that He is King. Job recognizes that, at the end of the day, God is in control.
He submits to God’s authority over him.
He submits to God’s will. He surrenders.
“Oh, what dirty words,” I inwardly shudder. “I don’t want to submit. I don’t want to surrender. I want to be in control. I want to hold the cards. I want my way. I, I, I!”
But don’t we actually align ourselves with Job’s declaration of God as King of our lives and submit ourselves to His sovereign authority every single time we pray the “Our Father?”
“Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done.” Thy will. Not mine.
Our son’s godfather is a youth minister, and introduced me to what he calls “The Most Dangerous Prayer.” It goes like this: “Lord, do anything You desire in my life for Your greater glory.” Although he can’t recall the prayer’s origins, he warns that it comes by its title honestly: it’s dangerous simply because once you give yourself completely over to God’s will, things begin to happen, and these things might make you uncomfortable.
Personally, I am a big fan of comfort. Yet as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI reminds us, we are not called to comfort—we are called to greatness—a greatness that is as unique and individual to us as our DNA.
Sometimes, when I am feeling especially brave, and capable of greatness, I pray my own version of The Most Dangerous Prayer—I pray to get out of God’s way. And you know what? He hears.
Next time you find yourself wanting something really, really badly, consider if you are allowing God’s will to reign sovereign in your life. Are you holding on to your own will, or are you submitting to God’s?
On this Memorial of St. Francis of Assisi, let us begin to live—not for comfort—but for our intended purpose—for His greater glory.
Heather Anderson Renshaw is currently not drinking enough [coffee] to keep up with her five young kiddos. You can find out more about her here.