2001-09-17 - The Will of God
Acts 21:10-14, verse 14 "And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, remarking, 'The will of the Lord be done!'"
The Question, "Here's my question. If there's something I want and I'm pretty sure it's in God's will, why does God make me wait? I've prayed over this one thing for months (probably even years), and I can be almost completely sure that it's God's desire for it to happen, yet He is making me wait before He gives it to me. I have been patient for the longest time, but I'm starting to wonder if He ever will do it. Why does God make me wait for the things I want? If it's God's will and I know that it will be done, why can't it be done now?"
If you ever attend a Christian conference and during one of the sessions you are given a choice of different lectures to attend, and one of those lectures is on the will of God, you will find that over 1/2 of the people attending the conference will go to the lecture on the will of God. We all want to know the will of God for our lives. But how can we know the will of God? And even if we think we know God's will for us, what about timing? How long are we supposed to wait?
The first issue in thinking about the will of God is to state boldly that whatever the will of God is, we must submit to it. There is no point in resisting the will of God. This is why I started with the passage from Acts 21:10-14 above. Paul had just been told that torture and hardships awaited him if he went to Jerusalem and the people around him were begging him not to go. Paul responds that he will not only endure the torture but if need be, he will die in Jerusalem, "for the name of the Lord Jesus." It is then that the people around Paul stated, "The will of the Lord be done." The truth is, they didn't like what God's will was going to bring about, but they submitted to it anyway. We need to have a like mindset when we consider the will of God and our response to it. Isaiah 55:8-9
Scripture also tells us that we are to live, not for ourselves and our lusts, "but for the will of God." 1 Peter 4:2 If we are to live for the will of God, we must be able to know the will of God and Scripture here also agrees. Romans 1:18 talks about those who do not do the will of God even though they know it. The verse says that they, "suppress the truth in unrighteousness." So even though God's will can be known, there are still some that in knowing, do the very things they know to be contrary to His will. So not only must we submit to God's will, we can also know it. The question is how can we know it?
God is in the business of revealing His will. He revealed His will to Moses, and also to Israel. "He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel." Psalm 103:7 Israel was never confused about God's will for them. They knew His will, they just rebelled against it. We are not so different from Israel. We know when we have transgressed God's will because our conscience get pricked and it bothers us. He has made His will known to us and He has done this in at least three ways.
He has revealed his will to us in His Word, through communion with Him in prayer, and through the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. The last two are somewhat subjective and need to be claimed with care. The objective standard is the Word of God. Anytime we feel God is revealing something to us that is contrary to His Word, we must hold firm to the Scriptures and deny our feelings; always remembering that, "...even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." 2 Corinthians 11:14 These means may seem simplistic, but the Christian life is not terribly complicated. We make it complicated, but the basics are a healthy study of God's Word, communion through prayer, and reliance upon the sacrifice of Christ applied through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Through these we can know God's will.
"I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry." Psalm 40:1 The real question here is, "Why do I have to wait on God's will if I know He is going to do it anyway?" We have in the verse just quoted the example of David who waited on the Lord and it went well with him. I would simply say that we all have to wait on God's will because His timing is better than ours. We wait in hope, Psalm 130:5, 6, but we do wait. We even can take heart in the promise found in Lamentations 3:25, "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him."
Waiting is never easy, especially for Americans who seem to need instant gratification, but waiting on the Lord and His timing is virtuous. Waiting, and not taking things into our own hands, shows trust and dependence upon the Lord and His good plan for our lives.
I don't usually recommend books, but questions like this and others are addressed in, "Big Book of Questions and Answers," by Sinclair Furguson. You can order it at your local bookstore with the ISBN # 1857922956. The publisher is Christian Focus. You can get it off the web at, www.cvbbs.com.
Soli Deo Gloria,