When we are trying to figure out God's will for our lives, we can count on three things.
- God wants us to know his will. God wants to show us how to live our best life. It’s not like he’s trying to hide his plan from us. He speaks to us through the Bible, other people, books, circumstances, experience, and the patterns for living Jesus gave us during his time here on earth. We just have to listen and pay attention.
- Our Good Father never wants to harm us. Some people will tell you that everything that happens in life is God's will. That's one of those "churchy" clichés that sounds good on the surface but lacks substance when you dig deeper. Some folks claim sickness, death, cancer, accidents, storms, destruction, election results, volcanic eruptions, and all manner of trauma and disaster are God’s will. That’s not true. It is not the nature of God to harm the people he creates and loves. And he loves every person in the world. Here's one example. Is it God's will that certain people die in a tornado? No. Atmospheric patterns on our planet cause violent weather events. Sometimes, people in the path of a storm are injured or killed. I've been struck by lightning. Inside my house. Twice. Did God hurl those lightning bolts at me? No. Both times, I was washing dishes at my kitchen sink right beside a window in a house located on top of a hill. It is the nature of lightening to seek water and high ground. (Side note: I’m officially off dish washing duty on stormy days now. In fact, a random cloud scuttling across the sky is enough to persuade me that chore can wait.)
- We are free to follow our own way instead of the way of Jesus. God has a plan for our lives that he wants to clearly show us. He sent his Son Jesus into the world to model how we are to relate to God and to other people. But he doesn’t force us to be like Jesus. He always gives us the option to choose his way or our own.Jesus says, "Love your enemies," but instead of doing that we can make lists of entire groups of people to hate. Jesus says, "Forgive just as I have forgiven you." But instead we can refuse to let go of grudges against people we feel have done us wrong. The more we shout that we have rights and demand our own way the harder it becomes to live like Jesus, see God's plan, and understand his will.
The grace of God encompasses all he is and all that he freely wants to give us in and through our relationship with him. We have continual access to his presence through prayer. He loves us unconditionally and completely just as we are. We can’t do anything to make God love us more. And we can’t do anything to make him love us less.
God wants to bless us with abundant life in him. God’s grace is the free gift of his love, forgiveness, peace, mercy, truth, and light. He will never lead us where his grace cannot keep. guard, protect, enable, reassure, sustain, and hold us in the goodness of his hand.
Grace and peace to each of you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. May we bloom as we discover his will, living a faith of hope and joy.