`Father,' Jesus said, `If you will, take this cup of suffering away from me. Not my will, however, but your will be done.' Luke 22:42 (GNB)
A blank wall, a closed door. All the plans and preparations had gone smoothly -- and then suddenly almost at the climax, and far too late to find an alternative, the way is blocked. Hopes are dashed, excitement drained, expectations unfulfilled. Why, Lord? You knew what was coming -- why did I get so far along the road before this happened?
I try to find another route -- and every way is barred: no way forward, no way around the obstacle. What am I meant to do now, Lord? Wait. There is no alternative now. At last, I am thrown back onto God. I have rushed ahead again -- frequently pausing to mention the overall idea to God, but never really asking him, or listening and waiting for his plan. Rather, I only ask for confirmation of my own plans -- please, God, this is what I'd like to do.
Every day I make decisions -- some I make alone, some after consulting others. As I learn more, I expect to assume more responsibility. This includes making increasingly far-reaching decisions and acting upon them alone. This is entirely right, and the path to professional maturity. In personal decisions too, including spiritual ones, I must aim at maturity.
Self-determination, however, is not the maturity I seek. To forget that I am not my own, and to do as I please, is not the way that Jesus took. Worse, having once given myself to God, to begin little by little to isolate from him decisions affecting my life, while deceiving myself that he is really still in charge, only leads to distancing myself from him. And so, the sudden shock of disappointment, and the awful realisation of the true state of things. I am glad of the pain too, though, for it reassures me of God's great love for me -- that he will not let me stray too far.
Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go
My daily labour to pursue;
Thee, only thee, resolved to know,
In all I think or speak or do.
Thee may I set at my right hand
Whose eyes my inmost substance see;
And labour on at thy command
And offer all my works to thee.
Further reading: Nu 22:12-14, 22-34. Is 30:21.