When we pray for something, we often end it with a statement somewhere along the lines of telling God that we want His will regardless of our desires. It’s not really a bad thing, but it is interesting when we seek to find God’s will. It can seem “elusive.”
But is it? Is it really hard to understand God’s will? Especially when we truly wish to understand Him better?
Let’s look at some Scripture. Maybe it will shed some light.
Fish & God’s Love
I think someday I would like to do a complete study on the fish of Scripture. It would prove interesting. Here’s a story that is found in two places. In Matthew, chapter 7 it says:
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:7-12, NKJV).
Okay, so it’s not focused on fish, but it is in there. Here’s the same timeframe in Luke 11:
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:9-13, NKJV).
Quoting both passages kind of muddies the waters, but there is a point to this. Look at this passage:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this, the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4: 7-10, NKJV)
It’s interesting that the word ‘love’ is translated in the New Testament almost as many times as the Old Testament, yet the OT is more than twice as big. You kind of wonder if maybe the New Testament might have had some specifics concerning love?
So here’s where I am going with this. God’s will (desire) is nothing but good toward mankind. Jesus points out that God has greater wisdom when it comes to giving. John points out that God Himself is love. He absolutely epitomizes it.
God’s will is always that we prosper and that we are taken care of (yes, there are many more Scriptures to back this up). So how does that apply to pray for someone who is dying? Who, after much prayer for healing, dies anyway?
I do not wish to debate God’s healing here; that’s not the point. But we must always remember that God never intended for us to live outside of the Garden. Do not confuse God’s knowledge of the future (only to us; He is not limited by time…I know, like science fiction stuff but not fiction) with God’s desire for us. He placed us in the Garden.
He had great plans for us. He knew we would falter (I say “we” because we daily make the same mistakes that Adam and Eve did back then – which is another topic for another time). God still had a plan. But He gave mankind a great gift that He understood would cause much trouble down the road. “Free will!”
Did you know God cannot override our free will? The Creator of the Universe cannot override our decisions. That would not remain within His character. Okay, the waters are thoroughly muddied now. Let’s get back to this “God’s will” thing.
From Scripture, we see that God always intends the best for us. That is part of His will. He wants to bless us! Which, I happen to think, is really cool!
But is it God’s will for someone to die? I use this as an example: A man spends years preparing to go to a foreign country to take the gospel to those who are living in the jungle and have no way to hear of it. After all the training, the studies, the prayers, the seeking God, etc., he arrives. Upon leaving the boat, he trips and falls, hitting his head, and dies. Was that God’s will? ‘Cuz it doesn’t sound like it would be. But we often chuck it up to that.
“Well, that was just God’s will.” Really? Because, you know, that doesn’t sound consistent with the passages in Matthew and Luke.
I think we might struggle with understanding the will of God to be anything that happens. It’s not that God is caught unaware; it’s that sometimes “life” happens. He is aware of it before, during, and after.
We can discuss details for days on this subject. But, for those who might struggle in this area, here are a few simple things to understand:
- God’s love for you is real and positive
- Man will falter—this is the result of sin—but God is not caught off guard
- Half the distance to being in God’s will is accomplished by desiring to be in His will
- The easiest way to know that you are in His will is to seek Him daily—pray and read His Book!
So many answers are given from simply praying and reading the Bible.
God’s will is a big subject. I think it would be good if we visit this again. Maybe even expound on the difference between God’s Will and God’s Desire? So maybe we’ll just call this a “to be continued…”
Matt has been writing blogs since 2008. Newspaper articles prior to that. Most of it has been about the goodness of God. “Life’s greatest purpose is God and all that entails.” He has written and published seven books with a long list waiting in line. His prolific writing is attributed, by himself, to a gift from the Great Master Author. The books range from devotionals to Christian and family fiction. The genres’ variety has demanded that he use pen names. So he writes all his devotionals and blogs under “Matt Davenport”. Adult/Christian fiction is written under M.R.Davenport. And he writes Y.A. under E.M.Oliver. The Y.A. writing is currently under a goal of two separate series’ that will, eventually, converge into one another. These two series’ involve a total of 10 books (one written and published already) that are set to culminate by the end of 2025.
He is married to his best friend and editor, Nancy. Between the two of them, they have 7 children and 12 grandchildren. They are blessed to reside on a beautiful, old farm (built during the Civil War) which they share with a very large heard of goats and two chummy barn cats. Which is all located in Oregon.
“While my work will always have a great range of story and character, I will never be embarrassed by children (mine or someone else’s) reading it.”
Sapphire Arts is his and his wife’s company. It is still in the baby stages and will eventually combine a publishing and design LLC. Add to that the talent they both have for creation (woodcraft, seamstress craft, digital design, etc), and SA will have much to offer.
They have a daily (Monday through Saturday) online Bible Study at 9 a.m. Pacific time. It is open to anyone who wishes to join in and watch by requesting to be friends with Matt on Facebook.
Thank you for the thoughtful post.
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