Ever feel like God is hiding from you? Like he is a mysterious, invisible force that you might catch a glimpse of if you ever get it together spiritually? Are you struggling to find God’s will for your life, feeling like he has you on a holy scavenger hunt?
God is mysterious in the sense that he is more wonderful and powerful than we can fully comprehend. His ways are higher than ours for sure. He may be hard to see as we search for him through our sin-stained, earthly focused lenses, but he is right here.
If God wanted to remain a mystery to us, then he wouldn’t have sent Jesus.
Our Father desired connection with us so deeply, that he left perfection and walked a sinful planet in human skin for us. The Word became flesh. He announced his son’s arrival to lowly shepherds and put a star in the sky to lead them straight to Jesus. Mary and Joseph were entrusted with the care of the Savior of the world, not two priests from the biggest church in town.
Later, Jesus invited regular guys to follow him and be his friends. He told them story after story, and poured his message into their hearts to be poured out into ours.
Not only that, but he tore the veil that separated us from his holiness, allowing us full access to his throne. In scripture, God is all about invitation. Over and over, we are invited to come into presence for shelter, wisdom, and fellowship with him.
Does that sound like he wants to play hard to get, to string us along and play games with our emotions? It sounds to me like God wants to make himself known to us. His last words to his disciples were instructions to make him known to the whole world and you and I have a part to play in that today, right?
God’s Got a plan, but gives us Choices
God has beautiful plans to use our stories, gifts, skills, and even our struggles to bring his grace to the broken. Why would he hide his instructions from us as to how to accomplish that?
I think maybe we make it waaaayyyy too complicated.
I believe that mostly we just have to stay close to him and he will guide us as we go. This may sound crazy, but I think God gives us freedom to make a lot of choices.
I remember being so anxious as a high school senior, so afraid of choosing the “wrong” college and missing God’s will for my life. Now, as I have gotten to know him better, I realize he would have been with me on either campus. He would have had people for me to love and lessons to learn, and college loans no matter which one I chose.
How Can we know God’s will?
Obey God in his big will
There is so much that we know we should do, so let’s start there. When those tricky Pharisees asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, he responded with simply, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” That’s his will for us. His big will.
There’s a lot that falls under his big will. Enough to challenge my heart and mind every day. What if we just start there?
Let’s love our husband and our children. Let’s care for widows and orphans and support our local church. Loving our neighbor includes our enemy. This is all part of his big will. Right? His big will is written down for us in his Word, black and red words guiding us to his heart just as the star guided those shepherds.
He’s so good to let us know exactly how to follow him.
Stay close to his side
When we are walking with him, seeking to know him and love him more, won’t we hear his voice whispering to us?
We are given so much freedom to choose, but God does have specific things in store for us as well. It’s when we are abiding and seeking him in his big will, that he reveals those specific things to us. The still, small voice says, “go this way.”
So, if you’re struggling with a decision, maybe he is giving you some freedom to make the decision. Maybe he’s waiting for you to obey him in his big will first. He may need to wrap you up under his wing before he tells you the next step.
stay as close as a whisper
God paints beautiful pictures for us in his word of the fellowship he desires with us. He is described as a refuge and a shelter. David writes that God will shelter us under his wings as our protector. (Psalm 91:4) In John 15, Jesus tells us to abide in him and in Matthew we are invited to be in a yoke with him.
When we are physically close to someone we can hear their whispers to us, feel their breath upon us. Spirititually, that is what God is offering. When we draw close to him, we can hear his whisper. Scripture speaks of his still, small voice, and we certainly can’t hear that voice as we rush around seeking our own way.
remember it may not be what you want to hear
As we follow Jesus, he may ask us to do things that do not make sense to us logically. He might invite us to join him in a place that makes us uncomfortable. It may sound scary or impossible.
He may whisper words like, “foster a child” or “let go of your straying child”. He may ask us to draw boundaries within an unhealthy relationship or he may whisper the word that’s hardest to hear, “wait”.
Remember that God’s whisper never goes against his Word or his character. He wouldn’t ask you to steal or enter into an affair. His whisper to you about his specific will falls under his big will- to love him and love your neighbor.
One mistake we make as we are searching for the will of God, is to filter all of life’s choices through the idea that “God wants me to be happy.” If that were true, we would never let go of our money to share it with someone in need. If a better prospect came along, we would leave our husband. You get the picture.
Remember God is For You
None of us grew up with a perfect father, but I think we understand how a good father parents his children. God is a good father. He is for us, not against us. He invites us to join him on an amazing adventure, bringing his grace to a broken world. He has a plan, but gives us choices along the way. His desire is for us to depend on him, which requires coming into his presence, close enough to hear his whisper.
He will whisper his love over and over.
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:2 The Message