December 18, 2017

God’s Sovereign Will

George Stiekes

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon Me, and ye shall go and pray unto Me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for me WITH ALL YOUR HEART. Jeremiah 29:11-13

I just finished reading a testimony by a woman named Lauren. She and her fiancé’ were Bible college students, about to graduate with honors. They were heading to Tennessee when they experienced a serious car accident. Lauren woke up in the hospital only to learn that Jon was killed in the accident. All of their plans and dreams were swept away in a moment. Lauren miraculously recovered and when she finally returned home, she said, “My heart felt like it had broken into a million pieces. At that point, I had the choice to either become bitter or to trust God. I can still hear Jon asking God for His will in both of our lives. By God’s grace, I was able to return to College. It wasn’t easy for me, and there is no way I could have done this without God’s help. Memories of Jon were everywhere I went. Jeremiah 29:11-13 has given me peace as I graduate and am unsure about my future. You don’t have to have the perfect plan for your life because God already does.”

And that is just the point: “My will or His.” We say that we want His will and then struggle to map out our own lives. Jesus said, In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

The scattering of the saints began when Jesus Christ was arrested in the garden. Since then, in this sin-cursed world, Christians have faced all kinds of struggles, guaranteeing that we will not always walk in the sunshine. Indeed, there have been good times, but it is not unusual at all that we face struggles, storms, trials, failures, tribulations, and persecution. Jesus never promised to take these away in this life. It is in the midst of our experiences in this world that we discover that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). Therefore we will not fear (46:2). Those of us who have a close relationship with the Lord recognize that in the midst of our trials, Jesus is praying for us, for our preservation, sanctification and glorification (John 17). That is God’s will for our lives. “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me (Robert Murray McCheyne).

No, God’s will is not always to our liking. However, in it, we learn to recognize that He always has our best in mind and we know this because He has given us His best that we might be with Him for all eternity. Once we begin to recognize this truth, it is amazing how He helps us to want His will regardless of while lies before us. Better yet, when we recognize that He is with us in the midst of those tribulations, there is this sense that all is well. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flame kindle upon thee (Isaiah 43:2). It is of major importance that we recognize our eternal nature – the big picture that God always sees. In the midst of the battle, we ought to ask God to help us see that big picture.

John the Baptist sent some of his disciples to Jesus with this important question: Art thou he that should come? or look we for another (Luke 7:20). John was soon to be put to death by Herod. He wanted to make certain that his ministry was not in vain. Once he knew that He had accomplished God’s will in his role as the forerunner of Christ, all was well. John was born for that purpose and Jesus said of him, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist (Luke 7:28).

“Oh Lord, grant that I may do Thy will as if it were my will; so that Thou mayest do my will as if it were Thy will” (Augustine).

George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.

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