Some initial thoughts about a common problem that brings folks to counseling. I’ll put more up on the topic, but I’ve noticed that a lot of counseling has to do with questions of guidance. Folks are asking about what their future will be like, what they should do now to avoid certain future pains. Did they make the right choice in career, spouse, etc. They want to know what God is up to and why he would have them experience the traumas and pain they have lived through. Some become paralyzed with fear, others angry or depressed. A friend of mine, Doug Howell, put some thoughts together on the topic that I think are unconventional but helpful in that they approach the subject in ways that maybe we haven’t thought of before. Here are some of his questions:
- Why do we want to know God’s plan? To sooth our anxieties and fears? Because we don’t trust God with our life? To further his kingdom? Seems like we really need to answer this question. Why is it so important?
- How many bible characters seemed to know what was going to happen next? (Not Abraham, Not Joseph, Not the Apostles)
- Is there any biblical record of anybody seeking to do God’s plan, who screwed it up and was lost because they decided wrongly? Abraham takes Hagar to solve the problem of not having a son and yet God fulfills his promises to him. Jacob steals Esau’s birthright but God still chooses him over Esau. Jonah still has to go and preach to his enemies…
Seems like much of our reasons to know God’s will/plan for us is to avoid failure and being rejected by God. However John 17 really reminds us that Jesus has already kept all who were given to him and so that no matter what happens, we cannot shake the fact that Jesus is united to the Father and we are united to the Father through Jesus’ works. There are times when we may question our abilities, our faith, but do we really question Jesus’ confidence that he has kept safe all that God gave him as his own. Do we think we can blow Jesus’ work?
2 responses to “Worrying about the Will of God”
Thanks for these excellent reminders. Just yesterday I was feeling that urgency of “what are you up to, Lord?”, what’s down the road for me. I know he wants me in seminary but don’t have a clear picture of the future application of it. “Just enough light for the step I’m on.” I think wanting to know the Plan is related to our fallenness, not trusting God, perhaps a desire to edit or “improve” his purposes and ideas. Today, I will choose to trust, and wait, attending to the tasks at hand.
Thanks for the comment. You have plenty of company with your “what are you up to, Lord?” questions. The Psalmists seem to ask that question frequently. Waiting on the answer can be difficult. I wonder how it was for Joseph who had an inkling that he was destined for greatness but was in Egypt quite some time before the prestige arrived.