Not My Will, But Yours

Written by Wil Davis

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

He was 27 days old.  The first 17 had been in the NICU at Ball Hospital, as the doctors had determined our newborn son would need to stay until he consistently weighed 5 pounds.  We cheered him on daily in his ounce-by-ounce journey, and he embraced the challenge with as much determination as any 4 pound 10 ounce baby can demonstrate! After 2 and a half weeks, we were given the amazing news—he was ready to go home with us—to live with his slightly older sister and two, inexperienced, but enthusiastic, young parents!  Each day was an amazing gift!

Then, at 27 days old the worst happened!  My wife was giving him his final feeding of the day, just before midnight.  As our son was breast feeding quietly, the silence was suddenly broken by her desperate cry, “He’s stopped breathing!  I can’t get him to start breathing!” She patted him on the back, gently at first, then more firmly, then I picked up his limp body from her.  After doing everything she had already done, I decided I would need to try mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on this tiny little body. Merely initiating that process caused him to start breathing. . .but only momentarily, and then he stopped breathing again.  And we realized we were facing a problem much bigger than we were prepared to handle.

We called 911.  We called our neighbors, who called their parents.  We called our parents, and everyone began praying. We prayed with our son in the ambulance, and into the Emergency Room, and then we heard the Code Blue called throughout the hospital just after they escorted us out of his room.  

Standing there, leaning against the doorframe for strength and balance, I prayed again.  But this time, it was a different prayer. The potential outcomes were stark in our minds.  Just over 14 months earlier, we had lost a son born prematurely who was unable to sustain his fragile life in so small a body.  We sensed the very real potential of a second, crushing loss just moments away, and we realized we could literally do nothing to sway the odds in favor of our fondest hope.  So, with this prayer also came a desperate humility: “God, we would love to raise this child, and would make sure he grows to know and love you, but we also know you love him more than we do!  You want what is truly best for him, and we do, too. So God, we ask only that you prevail in doing the very best for him as your wisdom dictates. We relinquish our plea for a specific outcome, and ask only that you would be in control.  We will praise you in whatever the outcome will be, and we thank you for doing what only you can do.”

This was my most profound experience of submission.  I remain grateful to this day for the way we were forced to process the great question of whether or not God is trustworthy. Life or death, seen or unseen, God is worthy of our trust.  When we allow God to be God, we can rest in the results, no matter what they are, knowing He is “working all things together for good for those who love him.” (Romans 8:28)

Three weeks later, miraculously in our view, we were able to take our son home, and to begin to raise him to know the God who had chosen to let him live with us for a while in this life.  Forty years later, we still celebrate God’s goodness, and pray that all our prayers and petitions are expressed in the spirit of submission to His goodness and His higher purpose for all of us.  

In the last hours of his earthly life, Jesus faced a moment where the outcomes were stark before him.  He prayed that the cup of suffering he was about to drink would be taken away. Yet in perfect love and trust, he also prayed, “yet not my will, but yours be done.”  (Luke 22:42) Jesus’ submission was key to the greatest miracle ever seen, and I have come to believe submission is key to new miracles in our lives today.

As we contemplate the coming of Easter again this year, may we find the courage, the trust, the love to submit to our good and holy God anew.

Write This Way:  When have you prayed for God’s will when you realized it may not be in agreement with your will?  Were you able to get to the Peace of relinquishment? In submission to our Good God, there can be a “peace that passes understanding.”  If there is a situation where you need to trust that God is good and in control? Try giving Him your will to do His will!

About the Author

Wil Davis is a long-timer member of Commonway Church. He has lived in Muncie for most of his working career and is married to his high-school sweetheart. Together, they have three married children and seven grandchildren.

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