God’s Will For Me?
Many Christians probably wrestle with this question more than any other. We want to know God’s will for our life, as we do desire to honor Him with this flash of vapor that is our life. Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Life” was emblazoned into the psyche of my generation of Christians. It has led us to be quite concerned with works of charity and mercy, gave rise to the “young, reformed, and restless” movement; for which we should thank God.
However, it brings with it some important considerations. When we look at what our lives could be for the Lord, we often forget to remember what our lives are for the Lord, right now. Singles often want to know how to discern who they should marry; young adult Christians want to know what college to attend, what career to pursue, and an endless string of “what ifs” and “what abouts.” Our desire to seek God’s will for our future is an attempt to acknowledge and obey the sovereignty of our God.
Sovereignty is Central
We know God has good works prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10), so we want to try to position ourselves to know what those good works are and get going on them already. However, it is of vital importance to remember that God is not simply sovereign over our future, but He is the Sovereign of our circumstance. Where and when you were born, the parents (or guardians) who raised you, the town (or towns) you grew up in, the church you attended, the siblings you had, the job your dad had, the activities your parents signed you up for, the first job you had, the friends you made, the opportunities that came your way, the instruments you learned, the movies you watched. ALL of these circumstances were overseen, ordained, and providentially stewarded by God to bring you right to the place you are sitting right now.
We sometimes wonder, “How did I get into this job, marry this person, end up in this situation?” It is all Sovereignty… through all the twists and turns of your life, God has been the unseen hand directing your path and circumstances. For instance, in seeking a spouse, remember that God doesn’t line up the several billion eligible mates of the opposite sex and say, “good luck finding My sovereign will for you.” Instead, He puts you in a church and community with a relatively small number of godly possible mates. You may wonder why your first job was stocking a battery and film warehouse (my first job); but by God’s determination those circumstances were for my good and His glory.
My present circumstances are not a matter for me to “pray away.” Rather, they are hand-selected by my loving Father to more fully conform me to His image. My present circumstances are not a matter for me to “pray away.” Rather, they are hand-selected by my loving Father to more fully conform me to His image. This is why the present day gender-bending confusion is so saddening. It is primarily an assault on placing our faith in God’s wisdom in ordaining our circumstance. My gender was lovingly chosen by my sovereign Father, that I might honor and glorify Him through all the challenges, temptations, and trials that come with being a fallen man in a fallen world.
The Only Sense for Our Circumstances
Indeed, it is this child-like trust that allows us to view the present sufferings with joy (Rom. 8:18). I am where I am now, with all the challenges, pleasures, quirks, blessings and trials because God has seen fit to tell my story this way. Now, this isn’t fatalism: whatever will be will be. Rather, it is a trust that God is indeed the great Purpose and “Purposer” behind this whole story of human history. The people I’ve met, the challenges I’ve faced, the books I’ve read, the seemingly inexplicable moments of my life, and even the sins I’ve committed have not thwarted His purpose.
Indeed, as a Christian, born again by the Spirit, the only way for me to look forward in seeking to honor God with my future, is to look back at how faithfully He has led me thus far. So then, my present circumstances only make sense when I trust that God has brought me thus far. Not only that, but it helps clear up that nagging question we began with, “What is God’s will for my life?” Looking at the “right now” as circumstances that God has ordained for me, and which He intends to use to His glory and my good helps clarify for me what to do next. Namely, I’m called to trust Him as I go about living according to His Word and His ways, knowing that He has promised wisdom for every decision. He invites us to seek first Him and His kingdom, and to trust that all the essentials will be taken care of.
Passive fatalism, which resigns itself to the grinding gears of the forces of the universe, and arrogant self-destiny, which attempts to chart its own course with no need for the Almighty, are mistakes which will lead to despair. Only faith in God and His past faithfulness, will help us understand the present and therefore gives us wisdom for “what’s next”? I’m here, not there. Thus, away we go…to do His will.