This is a continuation of my previous post, “A Startling Conclusion About The Will of God”. I found the passage below equally liberating and therefore I’m sharing it with you guys here. Again, it’s taken from this great book, “The Will of God As a Way of Life” by Jerry Sittser.
The conventional approach to discovering the will of God has a problem. It betrays a false and negative view of God. It implies that God for some reason “hides” His will and thus forces us to look for it, as if God were playing the celestial equivalent of “hide-and-seek” with us. According to this way of thinking, God hides His will, and we must go searching for it. In the process, He appears to delight in making things difficult for us. He prefers hiding over being found, frustrating us over making us joyful.
Raising my own children, however, has changed my understanding of both God and the game of hide-and-seek. When my children were little, we used to play hide-and-seek indoors during the winter or on rainy days. I was better at hiding than my kids were. But I always gave them hints, like little squeaks or hoots, to help them find me. When they discovered my whereabouts, they would squeal with delight because they loved to find me. I never once wanted to hide so well that they would never find me, because the joy of the game came in being found, not in hiding.
Playing that simple game with my little children helped clarify my understanding of the will of God. Is God’s will something He hides? Does it consist primarily of what we don’t know? I assume, rightly or wrongly, that God is always clear when He needs to be. He does not play a celestial game to frustrate us. He cares about us much more than we care about our children. He delights in us. He wants us to do His will because He knows this will bring us true happiness. God has enough trouble persuading us to do His will. Why would He make it more difficult on Him and on us by hiding it?
What if we do make a wrong choice? Does a wrong choice imply that we have forever missed the will of God for our lives? We choose to become, say, a chef when God wants us to be a teacher. We choose to marry Ellen when God wills us to marry Sarah. Is God so mean that He would cut us off from the good plans He has for us just because we make one “wrong” decision? It is always possible to do God’s will, even in less than ideal circumstances, once we turn to God and do what we already know.
Too many of us conclude in the face of difficulty and suffering that we must have made a choice outside the will of God. Then we spend the rest of our lives wishing that we had chosen differently. Ironically, we waste the opportunity we do have, however harsh our circumstances, to do God’s will right where we are. The conventional approach to the will of God leads to second-guessing and wishful thinking, which contradicts God’s gracious provision for us in Christ.