Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Do we need to know God's will?

Interesting moment yesterday at our local minister's fraternal. We talked about all sorts of things and then we shared some things for prayer together. I talked about our situation and the house move etc and someone said, "We should pray for you too, that you will know God's will," or words to that effect. And then I suddenly thought, do I actually need to know God's will? What do we normally mean by that? Do we mean knowing exactly what to do and when to do it, like following a blueprint of a way marked walk? Or do we mean something more general?

My answer to the offer of prayer might have seemed somewhat flippant to some when I said that I was actually quite comfortable not knowing. What I meant by that I think, was that I wasn't overly concerned that I didn't know exactly what lay ahead and how it would work out. That in fact not knowing was not a problem. This wasn't some sort of deterministic approach to the future, the kind of "if God wants it to happen it will happen" way of living, but hopefully a more fateful, or maybe faith-filled response of trust that God has a purpose that he is working out and that I have a place in that purpose that I can fulfil. It's holding onto the the kind of promise made in Jeremiah 29 without needing a divine business plan delivered by angles and signed for by me.

Perhaps we focus too quickly on knowing God's will and too slowly on living God-honouring lives. There things that we do know, things that we are very aware should form part of our lives as followers of Christ, and we struggle to do those things. Why then should we be so worried about the stuff the don't know, maybe don't even need to know. I suppose technically speaking we might be talking here about the difference between the revealed and sovereign wills of God. But do we need such a distinction in order to work out how every choice before us?

I've just remembered the conversation Jesus had with his disciples when they asked about the future of one particular disciple In the nicest way possible, he simply said, "Mind your own business!"

I don't really know the answer to my own question. I do know that some people seem to hear very clearly and apparently quite easily what it is that God wants them to do. I do not. For me, it often only becomes apparent after the event as I look back and begin to discern patterns that point to God's involvement and guidance. Perhaps there is a spiritual equivalent of proprioception on which I need to work in order to see more clearly and act accordingly.

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