This post is also available on The Voice of One Podcast: https://anchor.fm/teague-mckamey/episodes/Thy-Way–Not-Mine–O-Lord-e1idi52
I’ve been reading The Oxford Book of Christian Verse, and came across a work by Horatius Bonar: “Thy Way, Not Mine, O Lord.” Though presented as a poem in the book I’m reading, I discovered it is a hymn. (Listen here).
Bonar’s words carry the spirit of Jesus’s prayer in Gethsemane: “Not as I will but as You will.” I was especially struck by the fifth stanza, in which Bonar gives the Lord say over his friends, sickness or health, poverty or wealth. He voices a submission so vulnerable it reserves no shield for self. This puts God in His proper place as God—the one to whom final say truly belongs.
Let me say also that the Lord loves us deeply. Submitting to Him so completely will never be to our ultimate harm, even if God allows suffering for a time. Everything works together for our good (as Paul put so well in Romans 8). Frankly, our lack of submission, while seeming free, leads to harm and, ultimately, eternal death, even when it pleases us for a time: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Prov. 16:25).
I pray these sobering lines will inspire and draw you near to God, as they did me.
Thy way, not mine, O Lord, However dark it be; Lead me by Thine own hand, Choose out the Path for me. Smooth let it be, or rough, It will be still the best; Winding or straight it leads Right onward to Thy rest. I dare not choose my lot; I would not if I might: Choose Thou for me, my God, So shall I walk aright. Take Thou my cup, and it With joy or sorrow fill, As best to Thee may seem; Choose Thou my good and ill. Choose Thou for me my friends, My sickness or my health. Choose Thou my cares for me, My poverty or wealth. Not mine, not mine the choice, In things both great and small; Be Thou my guide, my strength, My wisdom and my all.