When the Will is Unwilling

maria20bouldingfinalportraitmichaelwoodward2009For many of us it is difficult to live honestly from this place of failure and weakness. Even if we know with our heads we should, we may still slip back into the old attitudes and behave as though God were expecting us to succeed and making his love conditional upon our achievements. If we have become hardened in such an attitude it may take some deep experience of failure to disabuse us. When a crisis occurs I may find in myself the sheer moral impossibility of obeying God. It is not simply a matter of emotional rebellion, or of knowing that ‘the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’; the will itself is unwilling. I am rebellious to the core and do not even want to want God’s will. Perhaps I can push it one stage further from me, and say with a kind of tortured effort, ‘I want to want to want your will,’ and then ask myself if there is even a grain of honesty or good will in that. I am helpless; and as the father of the epileptic boy cried to Jesus, ‘I do believe, help my unbelief,’ so I can only say to God, ‘I am rebellious down to my roots, help me.’

— From Gateway to Hope by Maria Boulding (1929-2009)

 

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