God’s will is often looked at in two different ways. Let’s discuss them. What God allows or permits is the first way. God allows Satan to mess with Job’s life in Job 1:12. Satan tells God that Job will curse him if Satan can “strike everything Job has”.
All around the earth, people who are Christians or non-Christians, face hardship. The history of mankind seems to be about life in the crucible. Like it or not, God does allow this. It could be a tsunami killing thousands or a house fire killing a young family.
We believe that God is always at work, no matter what. Even though we don’t understand His ways. Finite minds figuring out an infinite God? The fallen world, with Satan as the “prince of the air”, is about His permissive will. And sometimes what we think is pain and suffering isn’t. Case in point:
In 1982, Nick Vujicic was born with tetra-amelia syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. Nick has no arms or legs, although he has two small feet attached to his torso. Growing up, Nick struggled emotionally and physically to accept his condition. But today as a follower of Christ, Nick has what he calls “a ridiculously good life.” Nick writes: “When I’m asked how I can claim a ridiculously good life when I have no arms or legs, [people] assume I’m suffering from what I lack. They inspect my body and wonder how I could possibly give my life to God, who allowed me to be born without limbs. Others have attempted to soothe me by saying that God has all the answers and then when I’m in heaven I will find out his intentions. Instead, I choose to live by what the Bible says, which is that God is the answer today, yesterday, and always. When people read about my life or witness me living it, they are prone to congratulate me for being victorious over my disabilities. I tell them that my victory came in surrender. It comes every day when I acknowledge that I can’t do this on my own, so I say to God, “I give it to you!” Once I yielded, the Lord took my pain and turned it into something good ….. He gave my life meaning when no one and nothing else could provide it. [And] if God can take someone like me, someone without arms and legs, and use me as his hands and feet, he can use anybody. It’s not about ability. The only thing God needs from you is a willing heart.” (Nick Vujicic, Limitless (Waterbrook, 2013), pp. 147-148)
A second aspect of God’s will is His directive will. He intends things to happen, and so causes them to happen. The coming of the Kingdom is His directive will. It will happen, no matter what.
When I pray this phrase in the Lord’s prayer, I am saying I want His Kingdom, and I want His Will for me. I want my will bent towards His will. I won’t argue with His will as it comes to me today. If He brings joy to me today, I will celebrate. But if He allows pain and suffering, I will continue to trust Him wholeheartedly, under any circumstances, though difficult at times.
Then we follow the example of Jesus. In Hebrews 10:7, Jesus says, “Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—I have come to do your Will, O God.” He said that even though it led to incredible pain on the cross, “but for the joy set before Him, He endured it…”. He was fully submitted to God’s plan for his life.
So there can be a cost to the prayer that we cannot take lightly. Until the future Kingdom comes, and then the entire earth completely bows (Philippians 2:10-11) to the King’s will, we need to realize that His will may be very different than our self-centered will for our life.
As life goes on, we grow somewhat weary of the corruption of people, cultures, and the human self-will, do we not? We can only imagine what it would be like for the universe to be governed completely by His all-wise, all-kind, and omnipotent will, just like it is in heaven now. We are impatient about the present, and anticipate the perfect future to come.
Next week: “Give us today our daily bread”…