Is God’s Will Being Done?

“Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”​—Matthew 6:10.

JULIO and Christina watched in horror as four of their children burned to death. Their parked car had been struck by a drunk driver, and it exploded into flames. A fifth child, Marcos, was rescued from the inferno, but the blaze had scorched his body, permanently disfiguring him. He was nine years old. His father was sick at heart. He comforted himself and his family with the words: “This is God’s will, we have to understand that, good, bad, whatever.”

In the face of a tragic event like this, many react similarly. ‘If God is all-powerful and cares for us,’ they reason, ‘what has happened must be for our good in some way, hard as that may be to comprehend.’ Do you agree?

The view that whatever happens, good or bad, manifests God’s will is often based on Jesus’ words in what is called the Lord’s Prayer, quoted above. God’s will is being done in heaven, is it not? In praying ‘Let your will be done on earth,’ do we not acquiesce to what happens on earth as being God’s will?

Many are uncomfortable with this view. For them, it portrays God as insensitive to the feelings of his human creation. ‘How could a loving God want what is horrific for innocent people?’ they ask. ‘If there is a lesson to be learned, what could the lesson possibly be?’ Perhaps that is how you feel.

In this regard, Jesus’ half brother, the disciple James, wrote: “When under trial, let no one say: ‘I am being tried by God.’ For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone.” (James 1:13) God is not the source of what is bad. Plainly, therefore, not all that happens on earth today is God’s will. The Scriptures speak also of man’s will, the nations’ will, and even the Devil’s will. (John 1:13; 2 Timothy 2:26; 1 Peter 4:3) Do you agree that what happened to Julio and Christina’s family could not have been the will of a loving heavenly Father?

So, what did Jesus mean when he taught his disciples to pray: ‘Let your will be done’? Was it just a request for God to intervene in particular cases, or was Jesus teaching us to pray for something bigger and better, a change that all can hope for? Let us examine further what the Bible has to say.

[Picture Credit Lines on page 3]

Car: Dominique Faget-STF/AFP/Getty Images; child: FAO photo/B. Imevbore