Surrendering Your Will to God in Difficult Times

I have discovered that the most difficult battles in life simply mirror Jesus’ struggle in Gethsemane.

His words to the Father remain the most challenging words we could utter:

“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” —Luke 22:42

Surrendering Your Will to God in Difficult Times

(Photo: Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus surrendered His will. Courtesy of Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.)

Surrendering your will to God in difficult times is often harder than the trial itself.

I have found that my greatest challenges come not from those circumstances that press in upon me, but from the internal struggle to surrender my will to God. I enter Gethsemane daily and have to drag my will to the Father in prayer.

(So do you.)

Surrendering your will to God is hardest in difficult times. I thought of a few examples:

  • When someone for whom we’ve prayed for years dies unrepentant“Not my will, but Yours be done.”
  • When living as a godly spouse, parent, or single proves enormously harder than we ever imagined“Not my will, but Yours be done.”
  • When we lose a job and suddenly face an uncertain future“Not my will, but Yours be done.”
  • When a child is born with a physical or mental defect—“Not my will, but Yours be done.” 

The list only ends when life does.

Garden of Gethsemane olive trees.

(Photo: Garden of Gethsemane olive trees. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands.)

Why Surrendering Your Will to God is Essential

Life will hand you what seems like a raw deal. Solutions seem as gnarled as the olive trunks in Gethsemane. And when God’s will for you seems cruel to you and anything but good, you will wage no greater battle than the surrender of your will.

At that moment, when God’s goodness seems like a hypocritical pile of hogwash, you stand only inches away from using anger to justify your sin. But don’t do it.

I promise you, surrendering your will to God lies at the very core of whatever grieves you. And surrendering in absolute trust to the Father—as Jesus did in Gethsemane—remains the only path to peace.

Especially when you can make no sense of it all.

Question: How does surrendering your will to God help you when you’re struggling? Leave a comment.

Adapted from Wayne Stiles, Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus: A Devotional Journey Through the Lands and Lessons of Christ (Ventura, CA: Regal, 2008), page 146-147. Used by permission.

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