Have We Turned 'Knowing God's Will' into a Christian Version of a Crystal Ball?
Sometimes I think we’ve tried to forge a Christian version of a crystal ball. It’s called “knowing God’s will.” Afraid we might forfeit God’s blessings if we miss his will, we avidly pursue it, agonizing over decisions like what school to attend, whom to marry, what job to accept. Though these decisions are important, and though it is always good to seek God’s will, some of us are motivated more by fear than by a desire to glorify God. We want to be in control of the uncontrollable future, thinking perhaps we can assure a life of satisfaction and success.
But what if there is more than one way to do God’s perfect will? What if he is not always as concerned about specific decisions as we are, knowing as he does that he can achieve his purpose in a variety of ways? Furthermore, why do we sometimes feel so anxious about finding his will, as though God has decided to make it impossible to discover?
Jerry Sittser, the author of The Will of God as a Way of Life, points out that the conventional approach to finding God’s will, in which we think there is always only one perfect choice to make, betrays a faulty notion of God, implying that he is playing a celestial game of hide-and-seek:
“Raising my own children has changed my understanding of both God and the game of hide-and-seek. . . . 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.”1
Similarly, we can assume that God delights in revealing his will to us as we seek him.
The next time you are faced with a major decision, ask God to reveal his will. But don’t get tied up in knots over it. Just point your heart toward his purposes and rest in the assurance that he will provide the guidance you need.
- Jerry Sittser, The Will of God as a Way of Life (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2004), 25–26.