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Archive for April, 2009

Is God Secretive About His Will For Us?

Many Christians worry about what God’s will is for their life, which can provoke a great deal of anxiety. If God does not speak audibly, Christians naturally wonder what future decisions to make: what schools to attend, what careers to pursue, who to marry, etc. The question must be asked: Does God have one specific script for us to follow?

The Bible speaks to following God’s moral will and not an individual, specific will. Proverbs 3:5-6 says trust in God, lean not on our own understanding, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. This passage suggests following God’s moral will discussed throughout Proverbs and the Bible and you will be on the right path from the Creator’s viewpoint. Regarding such a major decision as marriage, the Bible only suggests a believer not marry an unbeliever for practical reasons. (2 Corinthians 6:14-16) Otherwise, which God will the children follow? The Bible never suggests there is only one man a woman must discover to marry to be in God’s will. Paul advises a widow “But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.” (I Corinthians 7:39b) In fact, in 1 Corinthians 7 Paul suggests individuals must make a wise decision about whether to marry based on their circumstances at that time. Paul does not condemn whichever choice is made.

 

There are of course times in the Bible that God did have a specific will for a person but God made this crystal clear through visions or an audible voice. Paul, on the road to Damascus, was advised by audible voice God’s desire for him (Acts 9:4). God needed Paul to play a significant role in presenting the Gospel to the Gentiles. God wanted it understood His promise of salvation were for all nations, that the Jewish nation was only a vessel to carry out this magnificent Plan. But, there were thousands of other decisions in a believer’s life in biblical times where there was no hint Christ’s followers had to worry about missing His will in their life. The Bible is explicit about God’s moral will but does not imply there is a specific individual will in the day-to-day lives of believers.

 

God does not somehow lose control because our lives do not follow a specific script. God wants us to pursue the desires of our hearts. Sometimes, those choices depend on the circumstances at the time. If we seek to make the wisest choice we can based on biblical wisdom, our desires and gifts, and the counsel of others, a loving God will not fail to lead us to “a” right decision. Unless moral, there is not “the” right decision. We do not serve a God who keeps His desires hidden from His children. Many “Godly” paths can be chosen while still remaining entirely within God’s will. You just can’t go wrong!

 

Why Isn’t God More Audible or Visible?

 

Most would admit they have never heard the voice of God or experienced his physical presence in anyway. This is certainly my experience. This experience no more indicates our lack of faith than lack of health or richness suggests unfaithfulness. God’s presence and miracles were prevalent in Old Testament times. God showed Himself in mighty ways to the Israelites through the plagues, digesting the miracle of manna in their bellies while wandering in the wilderness, and crossing the Red Sea onto dry ground. God’s visibility and directness didn’t cause the Israelites to choose rightly. Would any other nation act differently?

 

Jesus’ miracles attracted crowds but rarely encouraged long-term faithfulness. Humans have short attention spans. Constant miracles do not lead to changed lives. Why has God withdrawn audible and physically? Why is it necessary we live much more by faith than sight?

 

We ask God to help us find a partner, to get us a certain job, to cure our sickness. There is nothing wrong with these prayers, but we need to try to understand God’s perspective. God not answering our prayer our way may be the best way to run the universe with the desires He has to change the world. Once a prayer is answered, we often only go back to independency rather than a deeper dependency on God. Often, the only times we cry out to God are during times of suffering. When things are going well we practically ignore God, which only leads to a self-centered lifestyle to the harm of others. What’s a God to do?

 

The supernatural peace God can give one during suffering may be the only way we can attract others to our God. It may take a funeral and observing the loved ones of the deceased, for others to see the hope that Christians have. Suffering, whether directly caused by evildoers or not, may be the only megaphone that can reach people about what really matters in life. The truth of the matter is suffering, not pleasures, is what changes lives.  Similarly, God and Jesus removing themselves may be the only way to create life-changing dependency. Seeing does not always lead to believing. We may have to believe in order to see.

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