Thy Will Be Done

It’s the easiest prayer to pray.

It’s the hardest prayer to mean.

When I was in college I read the Savannah series by Eugenia Price. The story spanned several books and followed the lives of a family in post Civil War Georgia. I don’t remember much of the plot or the characters except one: William. William lost his wife and children in a steamship explosion off the coast of Savannah, shattering his life and happiness. For a good part of the book, he was withdrawn physically and emotionally from this family. While there were several main characters in the story life of this family, it was the fly on a wall viewpoint to this man working (the rest of the book series) on how to live out those four words, that remained with me forever. In fact, when I searched in our library for the book as I wrote this blog, I found I had a page marker at the exact section.

I haven’t opened that book in 40 years.

When he finally reemerged, William shared with his brother what he had written in the family Bible regarding the horrible tragedy that had happened in his life. He repeated the words, “Thy will be done” over and over to his brother as he explained how he learned to not just say those words, but to mean them. His ability to come to full acceptance of “Thy will be done” happened in hours of silence and solitude as he allowed the Lord, Himself to be his comforter and healer.

Thy will be done.

From the perspective of a nineteen year old, it was thought provoking.

From the perspective of an almost fifty-nine year old, it is gut wrenching, yet faith affirming.


Throughout these past forty years, I have prayed that prayer many times. I wish I could say that every time I said the words “thy will be done”, I truly meant it. In the first 8 months of this year, my family has had to walk out those words many times, sometimes daily, most times with tears with hope just beyond our reach.

person on a bridge near a lake

Photo by Simon Migaj on

It’s the easiest prayer to pray.

It’s the hardest prayer to mean.

We started the year saying hello and goodbye to my sister’s first grandchild. We had known for months that Caleb would not be with us long. His mommy and daddy had him for 45 minutes before they had to lay him back into the arms of Jesus.

baby bed blue blur

Photo by Pixabay on

Thy will be done was a bitter pill that day, and countless ones since. We surely could relate to the prophet Jeremiah when he said:

  “My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick within me. “ (Jere 8:18)

 “Thy will be done” means a dying to self, dying to what I want to happen in each circumstance. In raw honesty, that is a flat out hard thing to do.

My entire middle class, American life has taught me that I can have anything I want done my way. From a fast food burger to a sixty-dollar steak…food is catered to my preferences. Where would I like to sit at the Orioles game? What kind of car would I like to buy? What color natural fiber sheets do I want for my bed? The choices are endless and all mine to make. The control I have over my life by making insignificant decisions is astounding.


photo of blue sky

Photo by Elia Clerici on


But in the area of controlling the most important circumstances of my life, things get tricky. I don’t happen to life as much as life happens to me.  There is pain/uncertainty that walking this earth brings. And the stakes are much higher than what color sheets I want. It’s in the big area of life that means EVERYTHING to me: my family.

The stakes are high in praying this prayer, because on one hand it’s part of the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray. That alone ups the ante. If I want to follow Jesus in the way I say I do, I have to take this seriously.

What makes this life so precarious is that we never know when happiness or tragedy is just around the bend and this cuts to the core question: Does Jesus really love me when the loss of loved ones, accidents, job loss, or health issues come to me? Can God be trusted with my life?

If we only trust God or think of Him as “good and loving” when our life circumstances are not in jeopardy, how much benefit is faith to our life as a believer?

These are questions that I wrestle with when life gets hard and makes no sense.

CS Lewis said, “ There are two kinds of people in the world, and only two kinds: those who say to God. “Your will be done”, and those to whom God says in the end, “Your will be done”.




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6 Responses to Thy Will Be Done

  1. Gail Oliver says:

    I love this and NEEDED to read it.
    You are my hero.

  2. Sommer Fisher says:

    Beautifully written. Thank you.

  3. Pam says:

    Thank you, dear one. My daughter is struggling with a life decision and this would be helpful for her, too. I’m sorry for your sister’s loss. I can’t imagine going through this. Love to you!!

  4. kristy says:

    Steph. This is just beautiful. ❤️❤️

    Sent from my iPhone


  5. Penny says:

    Steph, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss. I’m sending my love and assuring you of my prayers for your sister and her husband and especially their son and daughter. You know I have walked this path. Remember what you told me then? To imagine myself as a little girl, and to crawl up into Jesus’ lap and let him comfort me. I can not tell you how many times I did just that.

  6. KIM ILL says:

    Oh Stephanie….the tears are rolling. I think of all the ways you have been praying for years.
    I think of the prayers & petitions over the last months we have shared together.
    I think of all your beautiful family has endured…Thy will be done Lord, thy will be done…
    Love you sweet friend!

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