“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.” John 17:24
O death! why dost thou touch the tree beneath whose spreading branches weariness hath rest? Why dost thou snatch away the excellent of the earth, in whom in all our delight? If thou must use thine axe, use it upon the trees which yield no fruit; thou mightiest be thanked then. But why wilt thou fell the goodly cedars of Lebanon? O stay thine axe, and spare the righteous. But no, it must not be; death smites the goodliest of our friends; the most generous, the most prayerful, the most holy, the most devoted must die. And why? It is through Jesus’ prevailing prayer – “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.” It is THAT which bears them on eagle’s wings to heaven. Every time a believer mounts from this earth to paradise, it is an answer to Christ’s prayer. A good old divine remarks, “Many times Jesus and his people pull against one another in prayer. You bend your knee in prayer and say, ‘Father, I will that thy saints be with me where I am;’ Christ says, ‘Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.” Thus the disciple is at a cross-purposes with his Lord. The soul cannot be in both places: the beloved one cannot be with Christ and with you too. Now, which pleader shall win the day? If you had your choice; if the King should step from his throne, and say, “Here are two supplicants praying in opposition to one another, which shall be answered?” Oh, I am sure, though it were agony, you would start from your feet, and say, “Jesus, not my will, but thine be done.” You would give up your prayer for your loved one’s life, if you could realize the thoughts that Christ is praying in the opposite direction – “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.” Lord, thou shalt have them. By faith we let them go. Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, March 22, Evening
I must admit, I have never thought of death this way. I have never thought of intentionally praying against Jesus will. I often say, Jesus, not my will but yours. But do I really mean it. What if His will for me means death of a loved one ( I know this one to be true), death of me (or just my way of doing things, I am thinking literal death might be easier!).
As I prepare food tonight for a dear family who has lost their mom, wife, daughter, sister, my heart is grieved. This devotion brings much comfort. Why? I KNOW that her death was Jesus will. I know we often throw around words and sayings, “God is sovereign.” “He is in control.” I know this all to be true. I trust that, I cling to that but I have never thought of it this way. That I could possibly be praying against what Jesus is praying. That is scary stuff. I would never want to do that but I know that I do. Often, it seems. What Jesus wants for us is so often not what we want for us. My prayer life will definitely change, I will not only only ask that His will be done. But ask for the Spirit to show me what Jesus wants and is praying in each situation.
It is his love for us, the love that longs for us to be with him in heaven that is calling us home, not some mean God up there trying to ruin our lives. It is his love for this world that causes Him to wait for to bring us all home. He is waiting so that others may come to know Him. I know in theory that God loves me, but to realize that He longs to be with me, that He prays to the Father for me to be with Him. How cool is that. Let that really sink in. I think sometimes, we forget how great is love is, how intimate it is. How much He longs for us to be with Him. How many times a day do I blow Him off, when I am too busy to spend time with Him.
Oh Lord, forgive me for my lack of understanding. Thank you for showing my how deep and how wide your love is for me. Forgive me when I think your plans are not for me but against me. Oh Lord, that I would live this life in light of eternity, knowing one day we will see You face to face and this life here will seem like a vapor. So, by faith, I let go the love ones who are with you in heaven!