Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor;” for we are members of one another. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:25-32
You know how others keep telling you to just pray that God’s will be done when you’re going through a tough time? Or maybe you’ve heard that the will of God is the best thing for you.
I was told this time and time again when I was in rehab and I thought I understood what that meant. I thought it pretty much meant “roll over and just raise the white flag when things aren’t going the way you wished they would.” That the will of God included him sitting there and deciding, “Well, that way sounds nice and it would make me happy, but no. We’re gonna go a different route now because you’re just not quite deserving yet.”
I’ll be honest. These past couple years have been the hardest of my life thus far! It makes me so incredibly thankful that God found me in my walk to sobriety because I have been handed every trigger imaginable, but I have yet to crave a drop of alcohol. Now, THAT, has a part to do with the will of God.
The will of God has 2 sides. One is partially in our hands to direct. It’s dependent not only on you or only on God. It’s also dependent on others and how you choose to handle their actions. We each have free will and what we do with it changes the course of our walk with God. When we allow darkness to remain unlit by God’s love and grace, when we choose to listen to the opinions of others who advise or believe anything contrary to what God sees as good, when we fail to take care of ourselves and look to blame others for our misfortunes…it takes us off the path. The path that is the will of God.
So God is forced to put other people into play, to send the shepherd out to look for the sheep that wandered off. As free will continues to play out, the person will either be put back on track or will continue to wander dangerously closer and closer to the cliff. It is God’s will that this person is sought after, though. It’s his will that he/she comes back to the good path that he desires us to be on.
He payed too high a price for us to just let us wander off and wreak havoc along the way. I don’t believe this is his favorite way of implementing his will because our bad choices make him angry. It saddens him to see his beloved child get off course.
Like I tell my children when they get in a fit and end up taking it out on their siblings. They know better than to push someone else or take things away. They know what it feels like when someone does the same to them. I have to constantly get after them until they learn how to share or deal with their emotions in a more constructive way. When it gets really bad I remind them that I love them but that it hurts to see them do those things. It hurts because I know how sweet they are and I know they can be so much kinder and so I need them to try harder to not do that next time.
I can’t prevent them from doing it just by sheer will or by saying that it’s unacceptable. They have free will and they will choose what to do with it. But, I know that with each incident I will continue trying to reach them, to get them to see how my wants aren’t meant to punish them but to create a loving and peaceful home. Not to mention grow them into a person of Christ-like love and kindness who takes responsibility for their actions and fights to get back on the right path. It won’t stop others from throwing obstacles in their way, but it WILL equip them to navigate around/through those obstacles without losing sight of the path God desires.
Like using the tools and lessons I learned to not turn toward alcohol. The thing that I thought would make my relationships better, but actually just made them worse and turned me into someone I no longer recognized. God put many people and warning signs in my way, trying to redirect me! But it took me getting dangerously close to the edge before the right people were put in my path. It’s not how God would have preferred it, but it’s what had to happen in order for my sobriety and my growth into a confident person to take a strong and permanent foothold.
The other side of God’s will is just that. What he wants. He doesn’t want you to hurt. He doesn’t want you to suffer or to feel lost. He doesn’t WANT anything bad because that is not what God is.
God’s will is everything that God IS and desires us to be also. It’s how he created us initially (until satan discovered we had free will at our disposal too). Did you catch that? Satan saw we had free will…our free will is the thing that is tempted and tried by evil. We either choose evil or we choose God’s will.
God’s will is what we should pray the hardest for! “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” That God’s holiness and perfect vision not be saved for heaven alone, but that it be seen and carried out on earth as well! That we would seek to be loving, joyful, forgiving, kind, patient, selfless, good, faithful…Christ-like.
That instead of feeling like we need to break out the climbing gear at each obstacle in our path, that we simply stand firm in our belief of who God says his is and say “mountain, get out of my way!” That we remain open to enrichment and we be accepting and grateful for the life that we have and those in it…no matter how difficult it seems! I’ve found that when life seems too hard or people seem too unbearable…it’s because I’ve shut myself off from being enriched and I’ve become ungrateful and even bitter towards my “lot in life.” Those are the times when I’m NOT being the person I’m supposed to be. Life sucks then not because I’m battling myself or others, it’s because I’m pushing against the will of God and I’m spitting in his face.
So when people tell me to pray that God’s will be done…it no longer sounds like I’m surrendering to accepting doom or just waiting for my eviction notice or to wake up to my vehicle being impounded. It’s praying that YES, LORD!!! I pray full heartedly that your beautiful design and your awesome goodness is carried out! Some way, some how! That I remain open and that he ignites a fire within me to burn with all of his goodness and love and that I don’t dare try to smother it with my imperfect free will. That no matter how others come at me or how their wandering paths cross mine, that I not be deterred or side tracked and that I still meet them with God’s will. With love, respect and selflessness.
That I think before I speak. That I pray before I act. That I seek God’s will rather than my own or that of others…and I CHOOSE it. Because how wonderful would it be to experience a bit of heaven on earth?! It wouldn’t be the same because it requires hard work, conviction and intention. Remember, we’re still battling 2 real enemies in this life…our selves and the devil. But in heaven, it’s only God and perfection. This life is meant to refine us and enrich us so that we can get a taste of and anticipate experiencing not only heaven on earth, but a heaven in which we no longer have to battle daily for. A heaven in which we are greeted at the gates with, “Well done my faithful daughter/son! Welcome home!”
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