The bible tells us that the experiences of life, both good and bad, come equally to all God’s children. That being true, maybe you will understand when someone says to you, “I think I’m having one of those ‘I’ve died and gone to Hell’ days”. Those are the kind of days that usually start out alright and then go downhill. You get up to a clear, sunny day. Your spouse looks especially handsome or beautiful, the kids seem like great treasures from heaven. Then something happens and what began as a heavenly day turns hellish in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, divorce sounds like a plausible and pleasant course of action; leaving the kids abandoned on a stranger’s doorstep seems like the right thing to do. But that will solve nothing, because the nightmare seems to be coming as much from inside of you as it is from the outside. The day seems long, the ears of God shut. You didn’t plan for the total meltdown of the household, or your life, but here it is and it seems like the end of the world. What happened? Well, I’ll tell you what happened. God had plans for your day that you weren’t ready for. You were surprised by what, till today, had been God’s secret plan in your life. As His plan began to unfold before your eyes, you responded with fear, anxiety, anger and rebellion. Will similar events happen again? Very likely. Will you respond the same way? You don’t have to.
The Lord’s Prayer is about Jesus teaching us how to pray, but it is also about Jesus teaching us how to live. Our prayers are addressed to our Heavenly Father as God is the one we worship, honour and depend on for things. However, our needs must not be the first concern. We are to first hallow (honour) God’s name – that is, we are to pray that God helps us to live in ways, to speak in ways, to act in ways that are honouring to |God at all times. That is the purpose and goal of all creation, to glorify God. (Roman 11:36)
We also pray “Thy Kingdom come” which is to ask God to bring all the holy plans to completion. When we pray this phrase, we are asking that the present way of the world comes to an end, that God takes over and runs things the way they were originally designed to be run.
Then we come to the phrase in the prayer “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” To pray “Thy will be done” is to seek the heart of God. Does God hide from us what that will is? Sometimes. The hidden or secret will of God is that which He has planned for all eternity, but in wisdom, has not made known to us. Perhaps we won’t understand it. Perhaps we aren’t ready for it. For whatever reason, there are parts of God’s will or plan that we don’t know. But there are parts of God’s will that God has revealed to us. These are the things the Almighty deems are necessary for us to know. The secret will of God will be revealed to us as it unfolds. For instance, what is going to happen to you tomorrow? You don’t know that, because it is right now, the secret will of God. But by tomorrow, you will know. For instance, if I wake up tomorrow morning I will discover that it is God’s will for me to live another day, or at least part of a day. Someday, when my lifeless body is discovered, those that remain will know what God had kept secret for all the years of my life, that is, the appointed day and manner of my death. It is said that every time we read the newspaper, we are catching up on what was the secret will of God until God caused it to unfold in time and history. Yesterday it was a secret, today it is revealed to us, but only after the fact and not before.
The Christian has to prepare themselves for the discovery of God’s secret will every day. But preparation is not the same as being fearful or anxious about it, nor should we try to discover it before the fact. There are two reasons for this:
1. God has decided we do not need to know the things |God keeps secret, therefore we should not try to know them
2. it is God who has planned the whole of history for our good and His glory, therefore the unknown is for us and cannot be against us.
It may not feel like it in your situation right now, but there is no reason to be anxious for tomorrow. Matthew 6:33-34 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of it own.” That actually does not sound very reassuring, at least not the last half of the sentence. What it is telling us, however, is that there is no point in us worrying about the future, the unknown. Corrie Ten Boom said that “Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
How do we determine the will of God so that we can respond appropriately? Jesus still speaks to believers through believers today. Here's an example of how the church as the meeting of believers is to function in this regard. Imagine you are driving somewhere and you see a traffic light. The sensors within your eye perceive that the colour of the light is red. Your brain checks your memory bank and announces the meaning of a red light to your right foot. Your right foot responds by leaving the accelerator and pressing the brake. But what if your body doesn’t respond properly? What if your eye had decided not to be part of the body because the nose had hurt its feelings? Or what if the foot was tired of being bossed around and decided to press the gas pedal instead of the brake? Or what if your right foot was in pain, but too proud to tell the left foot, so the left foot didn’t know to step in and help? In all instances, an accident would occur.
One way God reveals His will is through the church. God often speaks to one member of the church body through another member. It could happen in a bible study, a small group, during communion or a church dinner. God has as many methods as God has people. And since God reveals His will through God's children the Holy One wants you in church to hear it.
God also reveals His will through the bible. “This is God’s will, that I should raise up those He has given me.” (John 6:39) “It is God’s will that you be born again, that you be born not of the will of flesh nor of the will of man but of God.” (John 1:13) “It is not God’s will that one little one perish.” (Matthew 18:14) “It is my Father’s will that everyone who sees the Son and believes on Him should have eternal life – that I should raise him at the last day.” (John 6:40)
It is God’s will that the world be saved from itself. Our task, then, is to align ourselves with that will. Anytime we find ourselves choosing between two options we need to ask, “Which road will contribute more to the Kingdom of God?”
But knowing God’s will is obviously not enough, because that alone does not ensure that we are hallowing God's name or allowing the heavenly kingdom to come. When we pray “Thy kingdom come” we are praying for the divine grace to resist temptation. We are praying that God gives us the power to resist evil and flee from it. We are praying for grace to do that which is pleasing to God. We are praying that God transforms us. When we pray the words “Thy kingdom come” we are declaring our intent to defy our own will when it conflicts with God’s revealed will.
When we pray “Thy kingdom come” we are saying “Make me understand the way of Your precepts so I will meditate on Your wonders.” (Romans 12:2) “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Colossians 1:9)
Again, how does a person learn what is pleasing to God? By faithful exposure to God's word through the bible, through other believers, through the church. The person who prays this prayer with sincerity of heart, “Thy will be done” is a person of action, who will make use of all the means of grace given to them so that all their thoughts and actions are pleasing to God.
The will of God is done by us when we meet every adverse situation that befalls us with grace and obedience to God, when our hearts and actions are, in some measure, conformed to God’s Word. We do God's will when what is done is done in faith with a view to God’s glory. God’s will is done when the Christian obeys God voluntarily, cheerfully, speedily, without delay, constantly, without interruption, perfectly and completely.
Will we know the whole of God’s will? Not unless God chooses reveals it to us. But by enriching our faith we will know enough of God’s will to be able to deal with hellish days in our lives in such a way that we grow spiritually and are honouring to God. “Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”