Thursday, November 13, 2008


In her column “I Wish I’d Said That,” Maggie Chandler recently wrote about the meaning of the word Amen. The meaning of the word is along the lines of “let it be so” or “so be it.” She told how she asked her Sunday school class about its meaning and her daughter responded, “whatever.”

I could have thought at about the meaning of that word for a long time and not have come up with that answer. Along the same lines that Maggie took with what she said, we take the whatever to be a somewhat disrespectful term. It implies that a teenager is telling a parent, “I don’t agree with you. I know you won’t listen well enough to understand, but I’ll yield to you. Whatever.” But the parent is thinking, “why can’t she just accept that I know better than her?”

When we look at the Lord’s prayer in the garden, isn’t that how he ended it? Doesn’t “not my will, but thine be done” mean exactly the same thing as whatever? Jesus may have been more sincere, but the meaning’s the same. To so the question for us might be, just how sincere are we when we end our prayers with amen? Are we even as sincere as a teenager yielding to the will of her parents, even though she is certain they are wrong?

I look at my prayer life and some of the things I lay before the Lord. There is no sin in going to the Lord and saying, “Look, my life’s pretty rotten right now. Is there something you can do to fix it?” We don’t know how Jesus prayed most of the time, but when Jesus prayed before his betrayal, he prayed one of those prayers. Even though he already knew the answer, Jesus prayed, “let this cup pass from me” and then to paraphrase, said “whatever.”

So often, I look at life and work it all out. I point my head in one direction and say, “Lord, I want to go this way.” When things don’t work out like I hoped, I bow my head and say, “I need some help here. Amen.” But do I really mean amen? Am I willing to lay it all before the Lord and accept his answer, even if I don’t like it? Sometimes. Am I making my life more difficult when I’m not? Absolutely.

I would that the Lord would help me to accept his will for my life. Whatever.