What is God’s Will
How often we ask that question. What is Your will Lord? Should I take this job offer or that one? Should I go this direction or that direction?
The question often remains unanswered, lying in a barren wasteland surrounded by fear, doubt, panic, insecurity.
God’s Will—Something Unpleasant?
Many of us are under the mistaken perception that God’s will must be something that we don’t really want to do, or that it will be some very hard place that He will use to conform us into His image. And that is sometimes the case, when He is in the process of molding us into His image; however in His will there is always His joy.
What is God’s will?
One answer is tucked away in the little book of Thessalonians:
In everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Really? This is God’s will for me in Christ Jesus? And how does this work? I believe that built into this verse is a key—for when we give thanks, even in sickness, financial distress, marriage problems or any of our very real daily problems, we are making an exchange with the Creator of the universe and here is how the exchange takes place: “Lord, I am in the throes of an extremely difficult circumstance, yet in this thing, I give thanks to you in this circumstances, even thanking you for the circumstance, and in exchange, I ask for Your peace and Your joy.”
It has taken years for me to understand how priceless the simple act of giving thanks in everything really is. I have always been a “glass half-full” person, although I preferred to call it being a realist. In the last ten years of my life, Jesus has been training into me the truth of this part of my flesh and how negatively it affected those around me. I once heard someone say that they were optimistic pessimists. I can agree with that—particularly as it relates to events happening in the world. I am optimistic that there is an end result to all that Jesus is doing and I am also pessimistic about that in-between time which is going to be very difficult for us believers. The in-between time is what makes me pessimistic—for the day-to-day part of this eternal unfolding of His plan is not always a cake walk. Using my favorite analogy of living “above-the-line” where I can view all of life’s events from the perspective of the Heavenly realms where time does not exist as we understand it, and where God is working all things together for good for those who love Him, I understand that suffering is part of that process and I can receive what He has for me in it—as long as I am listening closely to Him in the above-the-line place. In the below-the-line realm of the temporal world in which I live out my day to day existence, it is often a very frightening, negative place, and all the more so as the day approaches. In the world-wide events, things can look very dark. In my daily life, as I live it out one moment at a time, it can be very confusing and complex—what if the economy actually plummets to a place where there is no recovery? What if…what if… what if. These are the things that keep us awake nights.
What is God’s will?
Now this question and the seemingly too simplistic scripture verse above, can begin to make some sense.
Give thanks to Him. In everything. Above the line, He is working it all together and in His time/space realm, it is going to end well. I am going to end well.
In fear…In panic…In anxious thoughts…in financial difficulties…in the complex ways He is working out His will in our children’s lives…In ministry to others…In physical pain…in illness…in a child’s illness…in a difficult marriage…in loss of loved ones…
The list is endless. These thoughts can be joy robbers. A glass half-empty person will burrow into it and always come up with a half-empty soul. A glass half-full person will come along merrily and try to cheer us up, which only makes us more sullen because “obviously they are living with their heads in the sand.”
Here is the amazing thing for both of these half-filled personalities: In everything, give thanks—in the good times and in the bad times. What a change this has wrought in my life now that I am beginning to understand the whole concept that God had in mind:
I am no longer a glass half full~
In Christ, I am a cup overflowing.