If it's God's will, it will happen... or will it?

The other day I was in a conversation with a group of young people, and one of them was wrestling with how to approach their college career.  It costs quite a bit to attend where they would like to.  And someone made this statement, "You know what, if it's God's will, it will happen."

I didn't say anything.  And honestly, I've been wrestling with that statement a bit ever since. What does that really mean: "If it's God's will, it will happen"?  And, well... is it necessarily true?

Perhaps the question behind the question is, "What is God's will?"  Like, what do the words "God's will" even mean?  Does God have a perfect will for my life that means I have to attend a specific institute of higher learning, and if I get my degree from someplace else, then... I'm totally outside of God's will?

Also, does God get what He wants?  I read that question somewhere, with the implication that, YES, God does get what He wants... and I disagree... and I still believe that Love wins.  I've been reading through the Old Testament with my family at bed time each night, and we've almost made a joke out of how every other night we read, "And the people of Israel forgot God..."  God's will was to be their God, and they would be His people, and yet He didn't always get what He wanted.  Did He?

Jesus makes it pretty clear and straightforward in the Sermon On the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and can be summed up in Matthew 7:12, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  This is another way of saying, "Love your neighbor as yourself."  Jesus spends a big chunk of the Sermon On the Mount drawing a picture of what that looks like.

Also, Romans 12 gives some clear insight into God's will.  The chapter begins, "Give your body to God as a holy, living sacrifice," and wraps up with "Do your part to live in peace with everyone, as much as possible" and "conquer evil by doing good."

So God's will has everything to do with my heart-motive, my relationships, my life-style of worship, inner-peace and peace with others.

Does God's will have anything to do with buying a car or a piece of property?  Possibly.

Ultimately God's will is to know and be known by us.  He gives us free will.  We have freedom of choice, and His will is that we choose Him.  But what if we don't?  If it's God's will, does it still happen even if we don't choose it?  Wouldn't that negate the command to be a living sacrifice?


Alyson said…
I love the way Craig Groeschel explains God's will - as if it were a soccer field, goals on either end. One end is the Providential will of God, things that will happen no matter what. When God sent Jesus, we had nothing to do with it. When Jesus returns, He will do it whether we pray for it or not. On the other end is the Moral Will of God. This is how God wants you to live your life, found in scripture. Would it be right morally to have premarital sex? No. Morally, does God want us to be harsh with our spouse? No. Cheat on our taxes? No. Between these 2 boundaries is the Personal Will of God. This is somewhere between the providential will and the moral will. The more that we understand the providential will of God, what God is doing in this world, and the more we live by the moral will of God, what God calls ua to do according to scripture, the better we will be able to discern the personal will of God.

So, all that to say this. I think within the providential and moral will is a huge playing field in which we are free to make decisions. I don't think that we are outside of the will of God if we choose a less expensive college over a more expensive one. I don't know that we can put our our debt on God. "Well, I prayed that if it was God's will, a plane ticket to Africa would appear in my mailbox, and it didn't, so I must not be meant to be a missionary." God wants to to understand that He is God, and there are some things He just does, and also live according to the scriptures, have a relationship with Him. Whether we have pizza or Mexican (I choose Mexican every time) for dinner, I'm not sure He cares :)

Wow, that was a long answer, huh. I could go on and on about the freedom Christ gives us when we align ourselves with He spells out in scripture, but I think I have said enough. Maybe I'll blog about it :)
Stephen Nelson said…
Thanks Alyson! Love your point of view on this!
Anonymous said…
"If it's god's will, it will happen." is pretty much the basis of Christianity and also what Christians use to justify everything they do. I used to go to church with a girl who married a guy who isn't a Christian (and wasn't a Christian when they got married either). They live in the United States illegally. She doesn't pay taxes, because she works as housekeeper. And he has a stolen social security number. He went to the emergency room once for a health issue, and she later explained to me that they couldn't afford to pay the $5,000 - but, I found out later from him that they were actually sending $3,000 per month back to their native country to build an apartment complex to generate even more money for themselves. So, it's not that they couldn't afford to pay their hospital bill - they just didn't want to and didn't have any incentive to since it wasn't his own identity that he was ruining. Yet, they run off to church every Sunday, and they're favorite catch-phrase is "IF god wants it to happen, THEN it will happen." Even the pastor of the church sided with them and explained to me that god only allows things to happen that he wants to happen. Needless to say, I left the church and will never go back - I guess that's also god's will.

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