Not too long ago, Tracy and I were sitting around and noticed that "The Princess Bride" was on television. Although we came in somewhere in the middle of the movie, we had to watch. What a classic - fighting rodents of unusual size, Andre the Giant, and the classic lines - "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." and "Have fun storming the castle!" I could go on and on, but I digress.
For those of you who have not seen the movie (shame on you) and those who can just use a little refresher, the basic story is a quest for true love (not to be confused with "wuv, tru wuv" which "will fowow you foweva" as the Priest says in the marriage scene). Buttercup is living in the country with her stable boy Westley whom she orders around. He responds to her demands with the simple phrase "As you wish." Over time, Buttercup comes to understand that Westley loves her and to recognize that she loves him. Their relationship is interrupted, however, when Westley is reportedly killed at sea by the Dread Pirate Roberts. Buttercup, who is now betrothed to Prince Humperdinck, is kidnapped and the kidnappers are chased by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who ultimately takes her captive himself. With the Dread Pirate Roberts now being pursued by Prince Humperdinck and his forces, Buttercup fights to escape only to find out that the Dread Pirate Roberts is her beloved Westley when he once again utters those three words "As you wish."
The movies goes on, but I want to focus on that statement of love, sacrifice, commitment, trust, faith and servanthood - "As you wish." I thought about this when reading the gospel of Matthew recently. Multiple times Jesus says something similar. As an example, at Gethsemane, where Jesus went with his disciples after the Last Supper, twice he walked off alone to pray. The first time, knowing that he was going to be arrested, betrayed and crucified, and "overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death" Jesus prayed: "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Matthew 26:38-39 (NIV, emphasis mine). Then, just a little bit later, Jesus prays: "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done." Matthew 26:42 (NIV, emphasis mine).
There are a lot of remarkable things about these exhortations, starting with the fact that Jesus is so fully God in human form that he is even making them. Like you and me, Jesus asked for a way out - "if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me." I find that remarkable. A whole theology is in that point.
But what I am focusing on here is the rest of what Jesus says and does. He submits to the will of God. "Yet not as I will, but as you will." "[M]ay your will be done."
That is a hard one. Talk about putting your faith where your mouth is. I know that I talk about wanting to follow God's will and wanting to let His will be done. I even pray "Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven." But still, when I am praying, when I am talking to God about what concerns me, about what I hope happens, about what I want, about what I fear, I rarely remember to say "may your will be done" or "as You wish." Since I have been focusing on this the last few weeks, I have really noticed its absence in my prayers. Even in mid-prayer I have paused and thought about it. Wondering if I really have the strength to say, and mean - "God, these are my problems, this is what I want" and then add "but more than that, I want what you want." Being able to say, and to mean, "as you wish" means having reached a place of love, sacrifice, commitment, trust, faith and servanthood. It means acknowledging that I am not in control. It means telling God that I know that He will take care of me and that, if it is His will, I will do anything and can go through anything.
I have found that thinking about this point and incorporating it into my discussions with God makes a big difference. If you already do this, that is great. If you don't, give it a try for a while and see if you feel different afterwards.
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Sorry that it has been so long between posts. It is not that I haven't been thinking, I have just been distracted and haven't been writing. I'll get back to it.
I also can't figure out why the dates get messed up. I guess that is what I get for starting a draft to make notes for myself . . . .