A friend lost his wife this week. And by lost, I mean that my friend’s wife chose the way that seemed right to her, and in doing so she gave herself wholly over to her own passions.
A husband lost his wife, small children lost the comfort of their mother’s presence, the church lost a sister, and the enemy won a slave.
Our Father, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. What does this even mean?
Not everyone’s father is God. While the Creator makes and sustains all mankind; while he holds all breath in his hands, he doesn’t force himself on anyone as a Father if they don’t wish it.
God desires to not only be Creator but also Father to all he’s made. And so he created mankind – male and female – so that many sons and daughters might fill the home he designed so his earthly family (adam) might flourish.
But the God of generous love understands real love. Would his children still love their Creator if he determined that certain things were to be left untouched and unrevealed? Would they still love him if he didn’t make them privy to everything on earth and in heaven?
The God of self-sacrificing love understands love. It’s not true love when I have all the facts, the path is brightly lit, the timing feels right, the outcome seems positive, and only then do I “choose” to obey.
No. Real love is wanting to have it all (temptation), but then remembering who I am. I’m of this realm and my Father is not. His passions aren’t my passions. His ways are better than my ways. I remind myself of this when I pray, and then I choose to obey.
There are certain things to which God has determined I will not have full and unfettered access. Will I still love him? Will I trust my Father’s wisdom, even though the outcome is hidden and uncertain?
Real love – love born from above – is aligning myself hourly with the ways and means my Father deems right. This daily bending of my will to his, despite my considerable lack of agreement, enthusiasm, comfort, or control, is true love for God.
When I pray that my Father won’t lead me into temptation, I remind myself again that my temptation isn’t outside of me – it’s in me.
I want to see and know it all. I want to comprehend and control it all. I want what God has: to hold the breath and future of all my things in my own hands. This is my temptation.
Lead me not to a place where I consistently choose myself over you and others, Father. Deliver me from this evil.
Lead me not to a place where I choose a false father; the father of lies who promises control but delivers despair, darkness, and chaos. Deliver me from his evil.
Lead me not to insist that my human will be carried out above yours, or those you dearly love. Father, deliver me from evil.
Lead me not into the temptation that I’m on my own; that I must fend for myself; that I’m too far gone for your forgiveness and welcome.
For who is like you? Who can deliver? Who frees the slaves from false fathers and welcomes them home as true sons and daughters? Who holds the past, present, and future in his loving hands?
There is none like you on heaven or earth, Father.
Hallowed be your name.