JUST WHAT IS GOD’S WILL?
My Gracious Friend,
This is usually the time to draw attention to thanksgiving, yet really that should be something we always do. Not that I don’t enjoy our Thanksgiving traditions, I do, just as our Canadian friends did so last month. But I write this long before our elections here in American. An election, which this time will surely effect everything, and almost everybody. And despite my confidence in “the unchangeableness of His purpose” (Heb. 6:17), and my constant prayers about this, I have no idea, only hope, in God’s will for “what is Caesar’s.” God affirmed; “as I have planned, so shall it be, as I have purposed so shall it stand…For the Lord of hosts has purposed and who will annul it?” (Isa. 14:24,27). So I trust Him for the days ahead, without knowing what that is!
We know His purpose to ransom and restore His creation, and thereby to “choose” His “Bride,” is the “eternal purpose which He realized in Christ Jesus…”(Eph.3:11). This is literally the story of our Bible. What, “was kept secret for long ages, but now disclosed…”(Rm.16:25). But what is God’s will for “Caesar’s kingdom,” by which I mean our republics? What is His will for this coming year, and thus the virus and our economies? What about my family, your family, our friends, our churches? What is God’s will in all this? In truth no one knows, despite the current rash of sensational book titles.
You see I do not embrace fatalism. That is the idea that everything has been predetermined. Clearly God has chosen, or has willed certain things; like the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus, or Satan’s demise, or His return in glory. Yet, I with Augustine believe, “that God thought it better that evil exist, than mankind not free.” We are created as free moral beings, which is, let’s face it, why there is so much havoc about us. Our choices determine not just our destinies in Him, but also a lot of other things. Every choice we make has consequences, which will at times force us to face unpleasantness, even tragedies.
Yet, we are thankfully free to choose! Which means we can meekly accept what we erroneously think is our fate, or “change what we can.” We can watch passively while our church dies or change things; if it’s removing the pastor, or those that hinder the move of God, or better become soul winners ourselves. We can cover our eyes to the moral decay, or speak up, in love for the wholeness and health of our society. We can be disheartened by political hysteria, or begin to work for the election of good people to the school board, the town council, our courts, and right on up to the top. If we do nothing we will get what we deserve; nothing better!
Many affirm the sovereign of God; that He is in control of everything. Yet, He Created in “space and time” and this, I believe, was an act of “self-limitation.” I believe there are many such acts of God “limiting” Himself, one of them is certainly creating man with free will. God would certainly know that sin, and thus evil, would result. Yet He did so! He does see everything, because He is beyond “space and time.” So He “foreknows,” or better He see all of time, and thus sees every consequence of our actions. He will at times guide, often very profoundly, as I know in my own life. Just as He has at many times acted providentially in our republics, so as to bring about His will. Perhaps He will again, but I’m not sure we deserve it. But He does provide guidance for us, as well as for nations. As Paul says, “the Spirit interceding for the saints according to the will of God” (Rm.8:27).
By the time you read this we all will know, to a degree, America’s direction, at least for a time. Was it God’s will or the free choice of a 130 million people, whether informed or not? Still, God is love among many other things (thankfully)! It is His nature, and in love He created us with free will (thankfully). This all so we would freely love Him in return (thankfully, many do). It is why Jesus, the Cross, His promise to return, and His desire that we might dwell with Him eternally (thankfully). So we can trust Him. And therefore whoever we are, or wish to be, is up to us. We can make things even better, or bury our “talent” in the ground (Mt.25:25). So regardless of what happened on Election Day, what others do, or don’t do (and I could tell you stories about that), what others say about you, or how you feel you are treated. It’s really unimportant! For in it all “we know for those that love God and who have been called for His purpose, God will work everything for the good. For those He has known (or been watching) all along He has destined to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rm.8:28-29, my translation).
Thankfully, we are His, and He is ours, because of His limitless love,
Thomas Randolf Wyatt