God’s will is paramount in the Christian’s life. In all four Gospels, Matthew 26:39, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42, and John 5:30 and 6:38, Jesus makes the statement, “…not My will, but Yours be done.” Jesus is our example that we follow. This perfect submission to God is what we strive to achieve. Nobody wants to be hurt or sick or go through trials and persecutions. But, some things are necessary for our own growth or for us to help someone else.
So sometimes what God wants and what we want might not be in perfect alignment. When that situation happens, we are to put aside our own desires and submit to God’s will. After all, He is God, and we are not. He knows what’s best, and he wants what’s best for each of us. Fortunately, this past week God showed me a little loophole for getting my own way more often using a piece of coconut cake.
The Coconut Cake
It all started with a whiff of coconut perfume in the girls’ restroom at my school just as I was leaving for the day. I thought about how much I liked the scent in perfume and lotion. I thought about how yummy coconut is in drinks and desserts. A few minutes later, I stopped by my favorite grocery store on the way home to pick up something for dinner. The trip ended (as it always does) with me standing in front of the discounted baked goods. Since Easter had just passed the previous weekend, there were lots of tasty treats on the rack. But, my eye was drawn to several pastel-colored cakes with vanilla frosting and coconut on them. One was just a couple of dollars, so I couldn’t resist. I grabbed a cake and took it home.
After dinner, I cut a piece of cake. It occurred to me that I didn’t NEED an entire cake to myself. Even if my husband helped a little, we could probably only eat about half of it before it went bad. Since I was heading out to Wednesday church service in just a few minutes, I thought of my pastor’s family. Specifically, I thought of the teenage boys who might like to share my cake. So, I texted the pastor’s wife to ask if her family liked coconut. She said they did, so I asked if I could bring her some cake. She said, “You aren’t going to believe this, but my mother-in-law just asked for coconut cake today.”
The “God Wink”
My pastor’s mother, who lives with the family, is the sweetest lady you will ever meet and so devoted to God. She had a craving for coconut cake, and God, as He so often does for His children, had seen to even her smallest desire. Yes, God moves mountains and removes kings and lifts them up. But, he also reveals Himself in the tiniest of details and pays close attention to those He loves. I thought through the events that had caused me to buy and offer the very cake my precious sister in Christ had wanted.
Why on that day, of all days, would she ask for this specific cake? A day when a girl sprayed that perfume when I happened to be near it? When the grocery story put those cakes on discount at the time I was at that store? And all on a church night when I would think of sharing with the pastor’s family instead of taking the cake to teacher friends at work? The Bible says that a man’s heart plans his way but the Lord directs his steps. When the Bible says that God is in control, it’s not an exaggeration.
The Lesson & New Way to Pray
When I thought later about the whole situation, it occurred to me that God had guided my will, and possibly even hers, to orchestrate the scenario. Yes, had I wanted that delicious-looking coconut cake. But, chocolate cupcakes or diet willpower might have won the day if not for the string of events that were all a part of God’s plan. If God could change my desires in this situation, He can change them about anything.
What if instead of praying “Not my will, but yours be done,” I could pray, “Please make Your will my will”? God would still get what He wants, but I would too. Of course, there will still be times when those trials and hardships are going to come. And, we won’t always like it when they do. But sometimes, there may be situations that could be a lot more palatable to us if God could help us change our mindset.
I have heard my pastor pray before, “Lord, change my want-to’s.” When I think about it, that’s a pretty brilliant prayer. Being submitted to God means that He will always get His way with us. But, it doesn’t have to mean that we don’t get ours. So the next time you are in a situation that just doesn’t seem to be going your way, ask God to change the way you think about it. He is kind and merciful, and you just might find that your situation looks a lot brighter when He makes God’s will your will.
Interested in more articles about prayer? Check out Hope For Lost Loved Ones: God’s Mercy in Trials, a new way to pray for lost loved ones. Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.