The Will of God [MAIN STORY] BY BONITA JOYNER SHIELDShy did my mother die? What did my son do to get this awful disease? How do I know what the Lord wants me to do with my life?
All of these questions involve what we term the will of God. Often, when we don’t know what to say, we answer out of desperation and resignation, “Well, it must have been God’s will.”
What is God’s will? How can we be sure of it?
When God created us, He provided for us a beautiful, idyllic garden. And we lived in an intimate relationship with the Creator God (Gen. 2:8; 3:8). This, as revealed in Scripture, was God’s original will for us.
Unfortunately, humankind, through its decision to distrust and disobey God, forfeited that relationship. While I believe that God would love to be able to work out His original will for us, things have changed. The presence of evil in this world complicates matters. It is not only God’s purposes at work in this world; Satan is at work as well (John 5:17, 19, 20; 1 Peter 5:8).
My English teacher in high school repeated a certain phrase to us again and again: appearance versus reality. As simple as that phrase sounds, I have returned to it repeatedly over the years. Even though Satan is at work in this world, the fact is that God is working even more. And though circumstances may play out to make it appear that evil is in control, the reality is that God has never left the throne! If we accept God’s redemption, and remain in relationship with Him (John 15:5), His ultimate will—the salvation of our souls—will be accomplished no matter what life looks like (John 6:40). Whether we lose someone to disease and death, or whether we don’t understand exactly where the Lord wants us to concentrate our giftedness in life, we can be confident that He will work out His ultimate will in those situations.
Henry Blackaby in his book Experiencing God explores this topic. Blackaby states, “‘What is God’s will for my life?’ is not the right question. I think the right question is, ‘What is God’s will?’ Once I know God’s will, then I can adjust my life to Him.”*
God’s ultimate will is the salvation of our souls. If we can adjust our thinking to that fact, in spite of circumstances telling us otherwise, I think it may comfort us during those times when answers are not enough.
*Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King, Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God (Nashville, Tenn.: Lifeway Church Resources, 1990), p. 14 (in workbook).
Bonita Joyner Shields is an assistant editor of the Adventist Review