The Will of God

Little Janie (not her real name) had spent 3 of her 4 years with my Mom and Dad, the only parents she knew. The State of NJ placed her with them when she was an infant because her mother was incapable of parenting and her father was in prison. They loved her and eventually hoped to adopt her until yesterday when a judge decided that NJ law required that Janie be taken from their loving care and placed in the custody of a relative. With the bang of a gavel, the child’s life was completely re-defined – all she knew and loved swept away. It was a sad day for us all.

The dilemma that I worked to resolve was about acceptance or resistance. Was I to accept this as the will of God or resist this as an expression of evil that needs to be over-turned? There is no obvious answer! That Janie has a relative who wants to care for her is probably a good thing. That she loses the relationship with people with whom she has bonded is a terrible thing. Will she be taught to love and serve God by her new family? That’s unknown. So, in my confusion I prayed, “Lord God, help me to know how to think, what to pray.”

Some Christians might say that since it has happened, it must be “the will of God!” That’s a little too easy for me to believe! I am not a fatalist and while I know that God reigns as King of the Universe, I also believe that He has given humanity the privilege of choice. I cannot ignore the reality of pain and suffering; the frustration of the perfect purposes of God that is all too evident in the world around me, which is the a result of the work of the Evil One and people who rebel against God. Just because something happens, does not make it God’s will.

That said, let me circle ’round to affirm the omniscience of our God. He knows what is happening. He helps us while events are unfolding. He is capable – amazingly so – of taking the circumstances of life and bringing them into line with His purposes. The 8th chapter of Romans teaches us to trust Him, even as we work with Him, to see His plans brought to completion. “…the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. … we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:26-28, NLT)

In the Bible, James tells us that even as Christians we must intentionally live in the will of God. Consider this – “Look here, you people who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what will happen tomorrow? For your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you will be boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” (James 4:13-17, NLT) He reminds us that when we make our own plans without prayer, without seeking the Lord’s guidance, we may fall into the sin of living outside of the will of God!

My questions about little Janie remain unanswered at this moment. But, even in my sorrow, I am at peace! Why? Because I choose to trust, to pray, to rest in the power and wisdom of the One who invites me to let Him lead. Here’s another word from James that shows us how to live while we work out our understanding of God’s will – Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” (James 5:7-8, NIV)

Plant good seed.
Pray for God’s gracious rains.
Patiently wait!
See the harvest of good fruit that glorifies God.
____________________

Spirit of God- Descend upon my heart,
wean it from earth,through all its pulses move.
Stoop to my weakness mighty as Thou art,
and make me love Thee as I ought to love.

Hast Thou not bid us love Thee,
God and King?
All, all Thine own –soul, heart, and strength and mind.
I see Thy cross — there teach my heart to cling,
O let me seek Thee and O let me find.

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh,
Teach me the strugglesof the soul to bear —
To check the rising doubt,the rebel sigh:
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
Only holy passion filling all my frame.
The baptism of the heave’n descended Dove,
My heart an altar, and Thy love – the flame.

Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart
George Croly
Copyright: Public Domain

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