My children were not especially stubborn as toddlers. For the most part, they were compliant with my plan of action. Get dressed? OK. Eat lunch? Sounds good. Go outside to play? Why not? But there was always a point where they realized they wanted something different than I did. The feet stopped. The posture changed. A realization hit them. I am my own person and I don’t want to do what I’m being asked to do. I don’t want to!
Part of growing up is doing things we don’t want to do. We get up early, we go to school, we sit quietly in the dentist’s chair, we eat our vegetables. As we grow we get more choices, and we think a day will come when all the choices will be ours. We learn about consequences and rewards and we’re pretty compliant because we generally get what we want–graduation, a career, a marriage, children. It usually works out.
But what if it doesn’t? What if God is calling us to do something hard? Something unusual? What if we don’t get what we want?
I don’t want my daughter to have cancer. I don’t want to get any more bad news. I don’t want to be afraid.
As we have faced the possibility of more bad news, we have struggled. We are wrestling with our fears. It’s not that we don’t trust God. It’s not that we doubt His providence or His love. It’s not that we’re unwilling to follow and submit and do the hard thing ahead.
We just don’t want to.
Our pastor reminds us that submission is obedience when we don’t agree. Submission is saying yes when we don’t want to. It doesn’t mean we don’t grieve. It doesn’t mean we’re not afraid. It just means we say yes.
Even Christ sorrowed in the garden. With a full view and perfect knowledge of all His sufferings to come, He submitted to the Father’s will.
And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:39)
We are sorrowing. We are afraid. And if we’re honest, we don’t want to.
But we long to be like Him. We want to be willing. By His grace, we want to say yes.