That Good, and Acceptable, and Perfect Will of God

Monday, March 10, 2008

I've been thinking a bit recently about the will of God.

I grew up believing that He had a plan A, which was the best plan that I could fit into if I made all the right decisions and didn't mess up, and a plan B, which was His "Okay, so she messed up, but I'll work with it" plan. (This was His not-so-spiritual-as-plan-A plan.) I had to be SO RIGHT about His will to get plan A for my life, or I'd get plan B, which was, of course, not as good as plan A.

The little problem I ran into was that He claims to be sovereign. The Psalmist claims that He wrote every day of our lives into His book.

After listening to months of discussion about the sovereignty of God vs. free will, I threw up my hands and accepted it as a mystery that only God Himself knows how to resolve. I didn't have to figure it out to accept that it made Him awfully big to know how to work that. We have choices, and somehow He is sovereign over our choices, holding our hearts in His hand. Automatons we are not. (This is all I will say on this here - Scripture says He's sovereign and says we have choice - like I said, I'm okay with the mystery.)

As I began to understand this, plan A and plan B merged. I began to trust His control in my life. That is, until my life spun wildly out of control. A choice I made believing He was leading me brought pain and rejection and disillusionment and the biggest disappointment I had ever suffered.

I stuck to my guns in my defense of my position - "No, I don't believe God has a plan B." "Yes, I believe He led me here." "No, I won't believe that the new gift He has given me is a plan B 'fix' for my mistake."

And yet, I kept trying to come up with explanations for the pain that had occurred. I analyzed and talked and wept and questioned and prayed to try to understand His plan.

It wasn't until a recent conversation with someone that I began to realize that I might not need to understand His plan. I might not need to offer an explanation for my decision, for the results of my decision, or for God's leading in that decision. How can I explain Him or His ways?

The title of this post comes from Romans 12:2 - "But be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."

Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians about a letter that would prove his authority from the Lord - he identifies the Corinthians themselves as his letter of proof. I don't have to "prove" God's will by any argument or explanation from Scripture or otherwise. By His Spirit, He is transforming my mind and renewing me so that I AM the proof of God's perfect will.

Which leaves me wondering what in the world He means by "praying in His will," and "the will of God... concerning you..."

He is not a closed book that I can explain or define or review. He is a dynamic, intriguing Person whose depth cannot be fathomed in an eternity. What then, must His perfect will entail?

How grateful I am that the Spirit knows the mind of the Father to work in me as He desires.


J said...

One of the things that has always worked marvels in giving me headaches is contemplating God's work in history and in my own life. I see quite a bit of connection between God's methods and actions in history, and his methods and actions in me.

The Israelites were many things, but a prime purpose that God had for them was to bring salvation to the entire world. And yet if there is any place in history that a Plan A,B,C,D,...Z sort of scenario would seem to be evident is the history of the Israelites - forget using letters for their plans, you'd have to start using large powers of ten to number the "next best" plans God would have used up on them while bringing about His salvation to the world!

It sort of breaks down into absurdity, especially considering that God knew exactly how they (and I) would behave. Is there really a "plan B" if God already knows what is coming and is still working in it?

I can't say I have any particular answers as to HOW God works out His will in our lives, or in the world as a whole which is really not much different from His will coming about in our lives. I'm very awed by the level of forbearance and patience he demonstrated in the Israelites, and when I consider that He works in the same way in my life, I become much more mystified about the details, but also much more reassured that He is still working out His plan (singular) for me. And since He loves me, I'm not worried about where that plan will lead.

(sorry about the length, it started out as a three-sentence comment, I promise!)

PaperYarnGirl said...

For me, the catch has been that I've been looking for "The Will of God" to be someTHING instead of someONE. Again, it comes down to existing right in the middle of HIS existence, regardless of where I am, or what's happening around me. It's living in the person of Christ, as someone was sharing recently.

Always Who, and never What.

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