Too often we have sincere believers doing what they want to do, and blaming God when the outcome doesn’t go just right. There is no doubt that God works in every detail of our lives and we must admit that there is His sovereign will - one that He knows and we are not to know. I’m referring to those things that God moves in providentially and works His purpose, for His glory! For instance, when Joseph was sold into slavery, it was not for Joseph, nor his brothers to understand how God was going to turn evil into good. However, Joseph knew from a biblical perspective that he should be holy, that he should pray, and that he should obey the Word of God. Joseph understood the behaviors and actions expected of a Child of God and therefore, he knew the will of God for that moment. He had no idea what God was going to do years down the road, nor did he need to know – he simply obeyed in that moment, trusting his future to the Lord. Too often we pretend to know why God is doing what He is in our lives, or what the future holds for us, and we use this rationalization to excuse our moving ahead with our plans and desires…then, if someone argues with us, we argue that they are standing in the way of God’s will for us! We don’t listen to counsel or stop to consider that we have manipulated to get our way – leaving God out of the equation altogether.
In the book Decisions, Decisions (that is excellent on this subject), Dave Swavely uses a great illustration to show how God works in our lives. To summarize the story, he points out that, if we know that our bodies are God’s temple, (and because we don’t want to be offensive to others) we know God wants us to brush our teeth and take care of ourselves. However, we don’t have to be frozen with fear in considering which type of toothpaste we should use…or if we should brush up and down, or sideways, or even if we should use the Sonicare toothbrush or the old fashion soft bristle tooth brush! Could you imagine being stuck in fear, wondering if you were in the will of God with your toothpaste or if you were settling for God’s second best? Now, Swavely goes on to give a great illustration of God’s providence at work in our lives: if you were to brush your teeth this morning and the light bulb in your bathroom blew out, this would force you to go by the store on your way to work to pick up a new bulb…which could then cause you to be late in passing through that same intersection you go through every day and, today, you missed being involved in a car wreck! So, did your decision to brush your teeth protect you from a car wreck? These small things I would say happen all the time because we know Rm. 8:28 “God causes all things to work together…” - even the smallest details of our lives. Could you imagine waking up everyday and standing in your bathroom, frozen with fear, wondering if you should have used the Sonicare (which takes longer) or the “manual brush” that takes less time, because if you miss the will of God it could cause a cataclysmic chain of events!? In truth, if we believed that God had this “individual will” that we had to discover for every single choice in our lives, there would be nothing insignificant, nothing that you could “just do” because you wanted to. In every moment, I would be playing a cosmic guessing game! And, since the Bible does not mention Sonicare or manual toothbrushes, I would have to interpret my feelings and circumstances to see what God could possibly be revealing as His will for that moment (and what if I interpret incorrectly?!). It would make much more sense to understand that as long as I am not violating the explicit teachings of the Word of God or the biblical principles of Christian behavior and attitudes, I have freedom to choose on the basis of wisdom and desire. The secret is not to find some hidden agenda of God’s… it is to abide in Christ through prayer and His Word, and then trust the Word when it tells us that He directs the steps of a righteous man.