We’ve all been there. In between jobs. Or selecting the right school. Or going through the break up. Or considering marriage. Or choosing the right career. Or dealing with the job that you hate. Or losing everything. The overwhelming heartbreak of feeling lost and not knowing what to do. You feel like your heart is all locked up. How could a God who loves us unconditionally put us in a situation where there is hurt and confusion and an abundance of tears?
I myself have been left thinking, “God, what is your plan for me? What do you want with me because right now I feel like my prayers are just hitting the ceiling and bouncing right back to echo in my heart. Why have you chosen me for this job? Surely someone else could glorify your kingdom better?”
I’ve struggled with Gods will plenty of times. And I bet you have, too. The good news about struggling with what God wants for our life is that we aren’t alone.
In fact, Jesus, perfect Jesus, struggled with the will of His father. And if the perfect person can share that struggle with us, you know flawed humanity is not gonna have it easy.
Remember the story in Matthew 26 of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane just before his trial and crucifixion? I love that story because it gives us perspective into Jesus’ humanity. Jesus tells the disciples about his sadness “My soul is succeeding sorrowful…” (vs. 38) as he enters the garden to speak to his father. I know I personally feel the most lonely when I’m struggling with God’s will for my own life. When I think about Jesus in the garden alone, facing the most fearful experience anyone could ever imagine, my heart breaks in two. Jesus struggled with God’s will as he faced the act that saved our souls. Jesus prayed “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (vs. 39)
I find myself praying in the same way when I’m struggling with the Lord’s will for my life. “God, not my will, but thine be done.”
I also love the story of Lazarus’ death and resurrection found in John 11. To me, this is a story that leaves me wondering more about Jesus as a person and how He shared similar emotions as we do. Scripture tells us that Jesus knew Lazarus was dead even before he spoke with Mary and Martha. In John 11:11-14, Jesus explains to the disciples that Lazarus is dead, and needs to be woken. However, later on in the scripture, when Jesus is led to the grave site of his friend, we are told “Jesus wept.” (vs. 35). There are two reactions from the people that observed Jesus’ tears, these reactions follow in verses 36 and 37. “Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”” (vs. 36) “But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”” (vs. 37)
As a mere mortal, I’m curious as to what it was exactly that made Jesus cry that day, too. And I can’t help but wonder if it’s because he was struggling with Gods will. Jesus knew his friend was dead, and knew that somehow it would glorify the Lord “This sickness will not end in death. No it is for God’s glory so that God’s son may be glorified through it.” (vs. 4)
I can’t help but wonder if Jesus struggled with the fact that his friend died as part of God’s will. Maybe that’s why Jesus wept.
I can’t help but wonder if Jesus questioned himself and the Lords plan when Martha said to Jesus, “If you had been here, my brother would not have died” (vs. 21) Maybe that’s why Jesus wept.
I can’t help but wonder if Jesus was certain that raising Lazarus from the dead truly was the will of the Lord. Maybe that’s why Jesus wept.
I can’t help but wonder if Jesus stood in front of his friend’s tomb and thought “if only I had turned left instead of right.” Maybe that’s why Jesus wept.
I can’t help but wonder if Jesus stood there among friends that would soon yell “crucify him” and saw Lazarus’ death and resurrection as foreshadowing to God’s will for his own life. And maybe that’s why Jesus wept.
And maybe those are questions we’ll never know the answer to on this side of Heaven. And maybe we’ll never know the reasons were struggling with the plans for our own lives. But friend, know that you aren’t alone in your struggle. Know that even the King of Kings had his moments of fear and sorrow when struggling with Gods will for his life.
How do you cope when you’re struggling with God’s will for your life? How has God shown up and shown off for you?