The Promise of His Will
“Jesus fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.””
Mark 14:35-36
Change is hard: starting a new school when we’re children; going off to college; starting out on our careers; getting married; having children; seeing children leave the nest and forge their own lives in the world. They are all good and exciting things; and yet, they can bring with them struggle and confusion as we adjust to new realities around us and new thoughts and feelings we encounter within us. I love living in Texas, but moving here from a very different climate and very different culture was quite a shock! Even the small things, like learning you need a sweater when you’re inside a well-air-conditioned building and not outside of it.
In this story from Gethsemane, Jesus utters words that we know so well: “Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Jesus lets go of His will and His wants, handing over everything to God Himself as He faced the pain and struggle of what awaited. It was the total opposite of good and exciting. From previously engaging the Pharisees and Sadducees and exposing their hypocrisy and idolatry, Jesus accepts His fate and His Father’s will and humbly goes to the Cross.
Following God in His will can be immeasurably hard. It can demand change in the world around us — our comfort levels, our routines — and throw us out of control. It can require us to let go of ways we have seen ourselves and labels we are too used to holding onto.
Yet, here’s the lesson I’ve learned. God’s will is not about the hardship ahead of us. Nor is it about the pain of change as we find ourselves pruned and refined. God’s will is about the good He wants to do. Death was necessary for Resurrection to be possible. And with resurrection is a promise: peace and serenity where there was striving and frustration, kindness and gentleness where resentments used to lie — and things for you and me that will build us up and make us mature, whole and complete in Christ. God’s will is for the unfolding of His (good) new creation and, as part of that, your good too.
So, on this journey through Lent, with the call to repentance, denial of self, surrender to God, know that we are not surrendering to a moral monster. We are surrendering to our Heavenly Father, One who knows what is deeply and truly good for us and, yes, asks that we trust Him in it. We have to give it away to keep it. We have to die to live, but that life is worth dying for!
The Rev. Dr. Suse E. McBay, Ph.D.
Associate for Christian Education and Riverway
If you know someone who would like to receive our daily devotions,
please forward your copy to a friend.
If you would like to reply to this devotional, please email
the Rev. Dr. Suse McBay at