Back in the day, the churches I grew up in used to have what they called "special numbers". Some dear saint would get up and sing and strum their guitar, or accompanied by the church pianist on what often sounded like a tinny out of tune piano. This was long before there was any sort of recorded background tracks for "special numbers". Some of those long ago performances that I remember were inspiring, many were excruciating to sit though, however well meaning the performer might have been. I'm not sure which of those categories my family's performance falls into. All I remember is that I was quite young and that our whole family stood up together in front of our little church and sang, "Not My Will".
"If I ask for a thing that I should not ask for
If I pray for a thing selfishly
If I ask for myself and not for my neighbor
Lift this veil from my eyes and let me see
"Not my will, thine be done," prayed Jesus
May this same prayer be mine everyday
When this robe of flesh that I wear makes me falter,
Guide my steps, hold my hand all the way.
If I murmur about the toil of my journey,
If I seek for an easier way,
If I worry because my load gets so heavy
Make me willing to walk in Thy way.
When my pathway is dark and my heart is so weary,
When I feel all alone in this fight,
Come dear, Lord, walk with me along this pilgrim's journey
Be my compass, be my chart, be my guide"
-written my Arthur Smith, 1957
I remembered nothing but the chorus of the song, until I decided to write this post and researched the lyrics. I know it wasn't just a coincidence, because I was having one of those feeling weary and alone in the fight conversations with God just yesterday in my prayer time. With my personality type, (INFJ), I tend to "seek out and promote relationships that are intense and meaningful." I "tend to be a perfectionist and am always striving for the ultimate relationship, (friendship). I'm not so sure this is the ideal personality trait for someone in ministry, because people rarely end up living up to my relational expectations. Rather, especially in the American church culture, people often walk away from intense relationships, the kind of relationship where you know one anothers' faults and weaknesses and still stick together through thick and thin. So, I was kind of murmuring to God about all of this. In truth, I was having an all out pity party. These words reminded me that it's not all about me, but about the One Who laid it all down for me, the One Who prayed in the garden to His Father, "not my will, but thine be done". On my weary and feeling alone days, I'm never truly alone. There's One Who is always walking this pilgrim's journey with me. He's the ultimate friend Who has always and will always be there for me. I can count on Him.