The new weekend series Joe has raised some fascinating questions for me. I would have loved to talk more about this: How would you know if you were in God’s perfect will? No kidding. Here’s a transcript of that part of the message:
“How would you know if you were in His will? The reason to ask is obvious: do you have an assumed picture of what God’s plan for you would look like? Do you think Joseph did?—maybe all of his brothers would be bowing down to him?
How would you know you were in God’s perfect will? Would it mean that life’s circumstances would all be good? Some single people might say they’d be married; some married people might say they’d be single. Would we have more money? Would we have a different job? Would we be happier? Would we feel differently? These are heartfelt questions…I’m not trivializing this. It’s just that when we start thinking about God’s plan for our lives, we can carry a lot of assumptions into it.”
This has really gotten me thinking. What would the internal trigger be—emotionally, intellectually or spiritually—to let you know you were now in “the perfect will of God”? At one level you might say like Paul in his Roman letter: “Who can fight His will?” Sounds pretty fatalistic. If no one can resist God’s will, then no one is ever out of His will. Then again, why are we told to pray “Let Your will be done on earth, like it is in heaven”?
This is obviously a bigger question for bigger theological grey matter than mine…let the Calvin/Arminius games begin. But one thing is for sure: we have to learn to see a bigger picture.
Laurie Beth Jones writes in her little book Jesus CEO:
“One day a man bought a stallion, and all of his friends said, ‘That’s good.’ The next day the stallion ran away, and all of his friends said, ‘That’s bad.’ Two weeks later the stallion returned with a herd of mares. His friends said, ‘That’s good.’ The next day his son broke his shoulder when the stallion threw him off. The friends said, ‘That’s bad.’ The next month war broke out. Because the boy was injured, he could not go to war. The friends said, ‘That’s good.’ The story could go on and on with people judging events as being bad or good when actually all the events are connected and have an impact on each other.”
It’s always been interesting to me that the sheep who were separated from the goats in Matthew 25 never had a clue they were serving Jesus when they took care of the poor, the incarcerated and the stranger. Did they not know how centered they were in the will of God?
In the end, it seems to me like it’s all about two things that are more important than clarity: surrender and love.