Persuading God to do Our Will?

by Guest Blogger: Alexandra Armstrong

I’ve been on an intense campaign to convince my husband that he wants to be a Civil War re-enactor. I’ve done everything I know to do to persuade him.

I appealed to his masculinity by promising I would henceforth refer to him as “The General.”

I tried to enlist friends — I thought they might be interested in being re-enactors — to exert peer pressure on Gary to go along.
I even dusted off some feminine wiles that were highly influential in bygone years.

I’ve gotten nowhere.

There is nothing about being a Civil War re-enactor that appeals to Gary. He’s not interested in American history, he doesn’t like acting and he loathes tent camping with a special hate.

I know these things, but I still want him to squelch his revulsion and get with my program.

Why?

Because I have a desire to wear long, hoop-skirted dresses somewhere, and Civil War re-enactments seem to be the most appropriate venue for this.

My husband finds my fantasy, as well as my campaign to realize it, mildly amusing. I find that exasperating.
To be honest, isn’t it also exasperating when we can’t get God to do what we want him to do? We put everything we’ve got into crafting an attractive deal with him, and he still doesn’t get with our program.

We don’t get that job, relationship, test result, credit, reconciliation, justice or relief that we asked for. When we realize that God’s “no” is firm, we’re deeply disappointed and ripe for resentment.

It’s so easy to forget the precepts we’ve learned from Our Lord’s Prayer. We know that before we ask for daily bread, we ask for God’s will to be done — on earth as it is in heaven.

His program takes precedence over our petitions. So if we ask for something that’s not in synch with God’s faultless will for us, he mercifully refuses our ignorant request.

On the other hand, if we would learn to align our appeals with all that he’s revealed of his will in Scripture (no need to chase mysterious secret wills), then we have this assurance: “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

For example, we know from Scripture it is God’s will that we love him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. We know that we don’t do this because we still want what we want — more than we want what he wants. But if we ask God to help us love him more deeply by conforming our desires to his, that’s a petition he won’t refuse.

It’s true what Catholic hymn writer Frederick William Faber (who wrote “Faith of Our Fathers,” which is in most Protestant hymnals) said: “There are no disappointments to those whose wills are buried in the will of God.”

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