Our Saviour Jesus Christ is our greatest example of letting the will of the Father prevail. In the Garden of Gethsemane, as Christ was praying unto His Father, while taking upon Him the sins, afflictions, and infirmities of the world, I cannot begin to fathom what great pains and anguish of soul He must had been suffering to say, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me,” and yet what great love and obedience He demonstrated by saying in the same breath, “nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”1
Throughout the scriptures, we read of other faithful disciples who shared a similar sentiment as the Saviour did and allowed the will of the Father to prevail. Before Abinadi the prophet sealed his testimony with his life he courageously shared the message of the gospel and proclaimed, “I finish my message; . . . then it matters not whither I go, if it so be that I am saved.”2
Similarly, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego professed to King Nebuchadnezzar, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
“But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”3
And Ammon, son of King Mosiah, with deep compassion to “preach the word of God to a wild and a hardened and a ferocious people,”4 his burning desire was summarised in his response to King Lamoni: “Yea, I desire to dwell among this people for a time; yea and perhaps until the day I die.”5
These valiant disciples of the Lord did not falter in their testimony and like the Saviour, each allowed the will of the Father to prevail against their own well-being.
I remember when I was young, listening to my father’s conversion story. When the gospel of Jesus Christ was introduced to Samoa, it was not received well. Many felt threatened by this new religion and fought against it and persecuted those who chose to join. Many converts were expelled from their village homes and many fled to places of refuge. My father, being a young and curious man, sought to discover what this new religion taught. In time he was baptised into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
As news spread through the village that my father had joined the Church, a worried friend from his village warned him that there was talk of cooking him alive in an umu (an above-ground oven of hot volcanic stones), so my father fled and found refuge with Malietoa Talavou Pe’a Fitisemanu and Alisa Fitisemanu. Even though his life was threatened, he was committed to his newfound faith. As the Saviour taught, “ye shall know them by their fruits.”6 The blessings of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in my life with my wife and our children, and in the lives of our children’s families, are some of the fruits of my father’s faith.
President Russell M. Nelson taught, “The question for each of us, regardless of race, is the same. Are you willing to let God prevail in your life? Are you willing to let God be the most important influence in your life? Will you allow His words, His commandments, and His covenants to influence what you do each day? Will you allow His voice to take priority over any other? Are you willing to let whatever He needs you to do, take precedence over every other ambition? Are you willing to have your will swallowed up in His?”7
I am deeply grateful for the example of my father, these recorded faithful servants of the Lord and so many faithful disciples and followers of Christ. I am eternally thankful for the perfect example of our Saviour, who always submitted His will to His Father.
As we embrace the invitation from President Nelson to “choose to let God prevail in our lives”,8 we will experience for ourselves that our God is “a God of miracles.”9 I believe we will then be able to say with a willing and humble heart, O God, “not my will, but thine, be done.”10