A big welcome to my friend and author, Gina Conroy, who will be guest blogging here today. I hope you enjoy hearing from her, and that her post inspires some spiritual introspection! Remember to check out Gina’s first novella, Buried Deception, in the Cherry Blossom Capers Collection, available in stores now!
Maybe you’re like me. Someone who’s been struggling to find God’s will. Someone who’s spent your life on a divine treasure hunt, chasing after God’s will like the elusive Holy Grail, knowing that when you finally take hold of it, all will be well in the universe or at least your life.
But what if God’s will is not something you can find? What if it’s not hidden, but right next to you and all you need to do is move over to give God room to work?
I remember as a junior in college sweating over the choice to spend six months on a mission internship to Africa. Six months was a long time to be away from home. I wanted to know without a doubt I was in the will of God. But no matter how much I prayer and travailed and beat my fits against the wall, I got nothing! No revelation. No peace. Nothing!
So I took drastic measures. Over Thanksgiving break, I holed up in my dorm room and fasted and prayed. Surely God would show up in a ball of bright light, his voice booming as he pointed the way I should go. I’d even settle for his writing on the wall. But as I prayed and lamented over fasting the Thanksgiving meal, I got nothing! No bright light. No pointing finger. No writing on the wall. Why was it such a struggle to know God’s will?
Then it hit me. No booming voice, just a gentle whisper. “You choose, and I’ll bless whatever you decide.”
Many Christians believe God’s will is always black and white. That there’s a right choice and a wrong choice. Many times there is, and God makes those things clear in his word. But what about the gray areas? Should I go on this mission trip? Should I send my child to private or public school? Should I buy this house? Should I marry this person?
While I believe God sends up red flags if you stray far from his will, I also believe he lets us make choices in life, and as long as we remain close to him, he’ll bless what we decide. I think the problem comes when we think being in God’s will means we’ll have no struggles in life. And if Adam and Eve wouldn’t have sinned, that might be true. But sin entered the world through their wrong (black and white) choice, making the permissible things in life not always clear and sometimes accompanied by trials (Genesis 3:1-21.)
I’d like to tell you when I went on that mission’s trip, I never doubted I was in the center of God’s will. Quite the opposite. It was the most painful time of my life at the time, and I questioned whether I’d missed God. But the fruit of the ministry and my personal connection with Jesus helped me persevere. Despite the inner heartache and trials, it was the most spiritually fulfilling time in my life. God’s word to me was true. He blessed me and no spiritual experience thus far compares.
It doesn’t take a Biblical scholar to see that being in the center of God’s will won’t always bring peace. Look at the life of Christ. From Jesus’ virgin birth (Luke 1:29, Matthew 2:13) to his final hours Jesus was smack dab in the center of God’s will, yet his entire life was fraught with trials as he lived out his calling.
Did Jesus always like being in the middle of God’s will? His struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane right before he went to the cross (Matthew 26: 36-45) paints a vivid picture of the answer. He spent his darkest hours crying out to God, finally asking his father to find another way before he resigned to God’s will. He knew the path ahead would not go smoothly and without pain, yet Jesus chose to be crucified and be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.
Thankfully, most of us won’t have to go to the extremes. Yet we struggle and travail like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane wondering what God’s will for our lives is when most of the time we’re already in the center of God’s will.
All we need to do is move over and make room for God.